Senior Austin Gerber (Churchville, N.Y./Churchville-Chili) scored two goals with an assist and freshman Romeo Katanga (Manchester, N.H./Manchester) added a goal and an assist to power the Keuka College men's soccer team to a 4-0 win over SUNY ESF Wednesday night.
The stout defense was led by juniors Joe Maier (Spencerport, N.Y./Spencerport) and Richie Weit (Churchville, N.Y./Churchville-Chili), and sophomores Zach Briggs (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero-North Syracuse) and Ben Geloso (Webster, N.Y./Webster Thomas).
"Our defense is really coming together as a team. We've gotten used to how each other plays, and that's really helped us," said Maier, one of Keuka's co-captains.
"We're working really hard in practice to get that dynamic down, and if we keep practicing like we have been, we're going to be really hard to score on. This win helps us a lot with our confidence. Going into this weekend with a win will give not only our defense more confidence, but our offense, too."
Schreiber staked the Green and Gold to a 1-0 lead in the first half. Sophomore Leandro Curran (New York, N.Y./Westlake) launched a corner kick towards the goal in seventh minute, and following a scrum in front of the goal, Schreiber received the loose ball at the 18-yard line and ripped a shot towards the near post.
ESF goalie Michael Walczyk got a hand on Schreiber's shot, but the ball rattled off the crossbar and settled into the far corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
ESF had a solid look at a tying goal with 9:31 remaining in the first, but Vick stopped Owen Hennigan's six-yard shot thanks to a diving save.
Keuka nearly took a 2-0 lead less than one minute later. Katanga had an open shot on goal from six yards out, but Walczyk made a diving save to deny the scoring opportunity.
The Green and Gold took a slim 1-0 lead into halftime, but scored three times in a span of 5:21 to break open the contest.
Katanga played a slick back heel pass to Gerber, who scored on a 12-yard shot towards the far post with 20:12 remaining for a 2-0 lead.
Gerber extended the lead to 3-0 on a breakaway goal with 16:41 remaining, and Katanga capped the scoring with his first collegiate goal on a left-footed boot in the 76th minute to lead Keuka.
"This was easily our best game getting the ball forward. Our defense played great, too, and it was an all-around phenomenal effort for us," said Gerber, who has 13 goals with five assists (31 points) in just 10 games and ranks fourth in the country in both goals per game (1.3) and points per game (3.1).
"We've been good at looking for our speed guys going forwards on our counter-attacks, which is key for us. If we all stick together and work hard to get the ball from the back forward, we can easily score anytime we want."
Keuka outshot SUNY ESF (6-4) 18-9, including 14-3 during a three-goal second half.
Keuka travels to North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) rival SUNYIT for a 2 p.m. clash Saturday afternoon.