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Column for 9.7.11
Siena is a Catholic college just north of Albany. It’s a small college, but they play Division 1 soccer at Siena, which means they play against big schools such as Syracuse University, Buffalo and UAlbany.
The other day Siena played in a tournament at Penn State. They lost the first game 1-0 against Penn. The second game was against Ohio State, a giant of a school. Ohio State is ranked 15th in the nation.
The Siena Saints beat Ohio State 1-0 on a goal scored by Joe Miner, a red shirted sophomore. It was the first goal of Miner’s college career.
At Shenendehowa, where young Mr. Miner went to high school, he was a star on the soccer team. Now he is on a team where every player was a high school star. If they hadn’t been, they wouldn’t be playing Division 1 college soccer.
I hasten to add that college athletes, no matter the sport, no matter the Division, are dedicated and hard working. And at Siena and other college’s that I’m familiar with, your marks better be good or you won’t be playing sports.
Back to the Siena-Ohio State game. How big of a win was this for Siena?
This from the Siena website: “This win is outstanding for the program,” said an elated head coach Gareth Elliott. “The lads showed the heart of a lion this weekend and I can’t ask for anything more. They left everything on the field and I think with their resilience they really deserved the victory today.
“It was the program’s first-ever win against a ranked opponent and concluded a very strong weekend effort in Happy Valley in which the Saints’ (1-1) narrowly fell to tournament host No. 18 Penn State 1-0 Saturday night in an evenly played contest. With two solid games against a pair of ranked Big Ten teams, the Saints are showing everyone they have no problem playing with the big boys.
“To win vs. a ranked team and a Big Ten team like Ohio State is not easy,” added Elliott. “And to play two ranked teams from that conference in three days as well as we did I give all the credit to our guys. They were unbelievable.”
Siena’s website went on to add this: “The unlikely hero during the match was redshirt sophomore reserve back Joe Miner. Playing in just his 10th career game, Miner scored arguably the biggest goal in program history for his first collegiate point.”
This, according to the website, is how it happened: Siena’s “Sindre Ek picked the ball up 40 yards out and made a quick pass to Joshua Vlasich who then slipped the ball between two defenders. Miner, who had entered the game as a substitution just three and a half minutes earlier, made a great run through and calmly slotted the shot inside the far post past the outstretched keeper.”
Miner’s goal would hold up as the winning goal, although the Ohio State Buckeyes would control the tempo throughout the game. But they could not get the ball past Siena’s freshman keeper Jack Binks. Binks came up big once again in goal and made two saves - including a key stop on a header with 33 seconds remaining - to preserve the win and earn his first collegiate shutout.
By the way, the underlines in the above paragraphs were added by me for emphasis.
I probably should mention that Joe Miner is my grandson.