Sanabria lifts Bears over Engineers, 1-0

POTSDAM, N.Y.—Sophomore midfielder Isaac Sanabria (Bedford Hills, N.Y./Fox Lane) scored in the 26th minute and the SUNY Potsdam men's soccer team (5-1-1) defeated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2-3-1) 1-0. Freshman goalkeeper Jake Mitchell (Brockport, N.Y./Brockport) made three saves to earn a shutout in his collegiate debut.
Offense was slow to materialize in the first half as the defenses kept much of the play in the midfield. The first strong chance of the contest came in the 21st minute as RPI freshman midfielder Austin Betterly (Plymouth Meeting, Pa./Plymouth Whitemarsh) moved toward the left side of the goal. He got a shot away just as Mitchell charged out to smother the ball. Four minutes later Sanabria scored the only goal of the game. Potsdam sent a throw-in into the box and the Engineers tried to clear it. Sanabria blocked the attempt with his chest and sent a low shot through a crowd into the left corner of the goal. The Bears took the 1-0 lead and a 5-4 advantage in shots into the break.
RPI managed to keep the play around Potsdam's net early in the second half. In the 65th minute, Engineers senior midfielder Vito Mesiti (Slingerlands, N.Y./Guilderland) handled a cross all alone in front of the net and fired it just over the crossbar with a chance to tie. Potsdam was able to clear the ball after the shot and keep it in the offensive end over the next several minutes, but couldn't pad its lead. With roughly four and a half minutes left, RPI senior midfielder Devon Baughen (Sarasota, Fla./Pine View) sent a cross into the box from the left side. The ball skipped over the foot of freshman defender Brandon Pirog (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Liberty) and went wide of the right goal post. The Bears didn't allow another shot as they closed out the win.
Engineers junior goalie Ryan Nealon (Somers, N.Y./Somers) made two saves in the first 74:30 and freshman Matt LaBranche (Wilbraham, Mass./Minnechaug Regional) didn't face a shot in the final 15:30.
Potsdam finished with an 8-7 edge in shots and RPI had five corners to the Bears' four.
Potsdam is now 2-5 in the all-time series with the Engineers, but have won two of the last three contests going back to 2013.
The Bears are back in action on Saturday when they open up SUNYAC play against North Country rival Plattsburgh at 1 p.m.