Men’s Soccer falls to Columbia in Non-Conference Play

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Andrew Posadas, Assistant Sports Editor

Coming into Tuesday night’s non-conference matchup against Columbia University, Fordham Men’s Soccer had plenty of positive momentum to work with after beating George Mason University over the weekend on Senior day. Seven student-athletes were playing in their final home games as seniors, including captains Joergen Oland and Bart Dziedzic. The senior class had a great showing on Saturday, with Graduate student forward Filippo Ricpati scoring twice and senior forward Johannes Pieles adding one more to secure a 3–1 Rams victory.

Not only was the win special for those graduating after this season, it also clinched a berth in the Atlantic 10 Championships for Head Coach Carlo Acquista and his squad. With virtually nothing to lose against Columbia on Tuesday, the Rams looked to keep the good vibes against the crosstown rival Lions.

Despite being at home, the Lions were looking for its first win since Oct. 5 and some offensive production being that the team had only scored three goals in its previous four matches. The series between Columbia and Fordham goes back to the late 1950s, with the Lions holding a 27–13–6 advantage over the Rams.

Early on, the Rams were the much more aggressive team in the first half. Fordham outshot Columbia 7–2 through the first 45 minutes of regulation. Despite facing multiple shots, Lions goalkeeper Michael Collodi was able to keep Fordham off of the scoreboard. The game went into halftime scoreless, but it seemed like only a matter of time before the Rams would break through.

However, the Lions flipped the script in the second period by outshooting Fordham 7–5 and using its home-field advantage to control the possession and pace of the match. The best chance for the Rams came in the 65th minute, when sophomore midfielder Kristian Shkreli ripped a shot that ultimately hit the right post and away from danger.

Twelve minutes later, graduate student forward Tomer Zloczower would take a shot on goal, only to be denied by Collodi’s stellar performance. Unfortunately, that would be the last best scoring chance for coach Acquista’s team.

Just when it seemed like this match was heading to extra time, the Lions made one last offensive charge down the stretch. And, in the 83rd minute, magic struck off of the foot of Columbia midfielder Matthew Swain. Swain was able to beat graduate student goalkeeper Konstantin Weis, who had four saves on the night, and that goal would be the difference in what was a closely-contested match.

The loss drops Fordham to 5–10–2 on the season, but truthfully, this close non-conference loss late in the season is inconsequential to a Rams team with its eye on the A-10 Championships. With one last A-10 match remaining, Fordham can still secure a top-four spot in the standings and guarantee themselves a quarterfinal match at home. Why is that so important? Fordham hosts the A-10 Championships this year, and an extra home game would only benefit the Rams in making a potential run to the final.

Fordham Men’s Soccer will be back in action this upcoming Saturday on the road against Saint Louis University. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. and can be seen exclusively on ESPN+.