CANTON - The SUNY Potsdam mens soccer team was cognitive of all the things a match on the road against No. 22 St. Lawrence would mean to their season.
In many respects, it would serve as a litmus test that would reveal just far the Bears have come as a team in four years under the guidance of Potsdam head coach Adam Parker.
And, for the first 58 minutes of the match, Potsdam held their ground, hustled hard and played back-and-forth with the battled-tested Saints.
But, in the end, it was St. Lawrence who pulled away late for a 3-0 victory against Potsdam in a nonconference match on Friday afternoon at Sandy MacAllaster Field.
St. Lawrence, a team that had already played three of its five matches against nationally-ranked opponents, was held scoreless by Potsdam (5-3) in the first half.
Coach Parker noted that the team and his staff could take away a lot from this match.
I love playing these guys a week before going into conference play because if you have a weakness or a problem, they expose it, coach Parker said. Theyre very well-coached, well fit, and very technical and they play quick. If youre not up to the task for 90 minutes, thats what happens. We were doing OK into the second half. We got the ball down and connected a few passes. We had a couple of dangerous balls hit in the box.
The match could have swung into a different direction in the first half for the Bears.
Sophomore forward Tom Benedetto (Queensbury, N.Y.) footed a beautiful lead pass to give junior forward Eduardo Figueroa (Rochester, N.Y.) a one-on-one situation with Saints goal keeper Aaron Costello.
Figueroas valiant shot attempt was secured by Costello, who lunged to his left to make the save.
In the opening minutes of the match, sophomore Ben Firlit (South Glen Falls, N.Y.) raced down the sidelines for a shot on goal as well in the first half, but Costello came up with the save.
Freshman Nick Davies (Webster, N.Y. ) was moderately tested early with four saves including a couple with a higher degree of difficulty in the opening half. Davies finished with five saves.
The first half statistics were indicative of how the Bears stayed close with St. Lawrence (4-1-1) who held a mere 4-2 shots on goal advantage.
In the 58th minute, senior midfielder Andrew Bednarsky scored on a feed from junior forward Jamal Samaroo.
It remained that score until the 75th minute when Davies initially stopped a shot, but couldnt corral it. Instead, the ball popped back out to a free Harry Copeland who lined it past Davies.
Two minutes later, Christian Barral-Arteta added to the lead with a goal coming across from the far end of the post.
For us, its making sure that we are ready for SUNYAC teams and know what issues that we need to address, coach Parker added.
Sunday is an important game for us. We got to go out there and work for it.
Potsdam will return home to the Maxcy Turf Field when the Bears host Clarkson University Sunday at 1 p.m.