By Christian Hince | November 12, 2022
Photo credit: UAlbany Athletics
After holding NJIT and Vermont scoreless in the first two rounds of the America East Conference Tournament, the University at Albany men’s soccer team has a shot at the league title.
Saturday 11/5: Soumah Scores His First, Danes Win 2-0
Having scored no goals in their previous two matches, UAlbany’s lulls continued in the first half. The Hosting Danes attempted three shots within the first 17 minutes, none of which reached the goal and only one of which was on target.
On the other hand, NJIT got a golden opportunity in the 30th minute, when Highlanders forward Alejandro Rabell launched the ball from the left corner of the box to the right post, leaving behind UAlbany goalkeeper Shafique Wilson. Next, Rabell’s teammate Jordi Navio Sanchez had the ball and an open net when Great Danes defender Tiago Dias slid to block his shot out of bounds.
UAlbany’s scoring slump came to an end in the second half. In the 74th minute, Mohamed Soumah took a through ball played by NJIT’s Jackson Finn, ripped a shot past goalkeeper Samuel Reisgys for a 1-0 lead.
The Great Danes added some insurance 10 minutes later when Pantelis Panteli – granted a free kick opportunity after a penalty in the box – fired it through, making the lead 2-0 and converting his third penalty kick of the season.
Seven of the game’s eight yellow cards were doled out within the final seven minutes. This win was number four in a string of Shafique Wilson shutouts, the first of which also came against NJIT on October 22.
Thursday 11/10: Great Danes Upset Hosting Catamounts 1-0
As early as the fifth minute, Vermont surged deep into UAlbany’s territory when a serve into the box connected with Catamount forward Max Murray for a header that Wilson promptly covered.
The Great Danes’ first scoring opportunity came at the 11:01 mark when Domenic Baumann fired a shot low and to the left, only to see it saved by Nathan Silviera, the America East Goalkeeper of the Year for a second-straight season.
Vermont, despite closing the first half with a 7-1 shooting advantage, only recorded one attempt on goal.
The Catamounts threatened again in the 52nd minute when Joe Morrison launched a chest-high shot from the side of the goal, however Wilson deflected the attempt out of bounds.
Wilson found renewed pressure at the 73:17 mark when a Murray attempt was followed up by a bottom right shot from Yaniv Bazini, which the junior goalie saved. An Alex Nagy attempt two minutes later wasn’t good enough either when Wilson stopped the attempt point blank.
81 minutes in, UAlbany finally broke through when Jeff Thielmann redirected a far post serve from Elias Ehlin into the back of the Vermont goal off a one touch, 1-0. It was just their third shot of the game.
The Great Danes’ defense held strong for the final minutes, completing the underdog victory. While Vermont outshot UAlbany 11-3, Wilson’s five saves never let this become advantageous.
UAlbany head coach Trevor Gorman was proud of his team’s response to their tough competition on the road. “This Vermont team has been ranked in the top-20 of the country all season long, and in the top-20 of the RPI all season long. They are a very good team with players who have been around this league for three and four years,” he said.
For the first time since 2017, UAlbany has a spot in the America East Conference Championship, facing off against number one in the league: New Hampshire.