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The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Luke Ehrenfreund nets a hat trick as Hamilton beats Utica after first-half dominance

Kayleigh Sturtevant
The Pioneers suffered their fourth non-conference loss of the season following its 4-0 defeat at home against Hamilton College.

Luke Ehrenfreund scored his first hat trick of the season to help Hamilton College secure an emphatic 4-0 away win against Utica University on Sept. 27 at Laura M. Casamento Field.  

Hamilton (2-3-2, 1-3-1 NESCAC) entered the non-conference matchup on a one-game winning streak. Utica (2-3-1, 0-0-1 Empire 8), off two draws, welcomed Foti Xidias, the goalkeeper, back to the starting lineup after a three-game absence due to a hamstring injury he suffered away at SUNY Cortland on Sept. 10. 

The Continentals applied early pressure on the Utica backline to start the game. With most of the possession inside the opening 10th minutes a goal looked inevitable and it would come five minutes later. Junior Luke Peplowski got the last touch in traffic inside the 6-yard box, Xidias’s outstretched arms couldn’t get to it as the ball trickled its way into the back of the net giving the visitors a 1-0 lead in the first half. 

From a cross, Ehrenfreund, with the first touch, took the ball down inside the 18-yard box from a delivery courtesy of Lucas O’Dowd in the 24th minute with just the keeper to beat, the midfielder slotted it past Xidias who again had no chance in stopping the 2-0 lead. Three minutes later Ehrenfreund this time with a header assisted by Charles Hawthorne up the lead to three, a brace for the junior in quick succession.

“When you play direct sides like that you have to counter [their playing style],” said Nico Leonard, a midfield forward who told his teammates to remain calm in the huddle at halftime. “We took too long to get settled into the game and played too frantic in the first 30 [minutes] and went down three goals as a result of our complacency.”

Though less physical from the Pioneer’s last home game—Hamilton dominated the first half with nearly every shot (four) ending up in the back of the net giving the Continentals a 3-0 lead at the half. For the Pioneers their inability to score goals and keep them out against non-conference opponents continued. Xidias, in goal, conceded his 13th this season and the defense’s 14th. The Pioneers with their top goal-scorer Byamungu Mugushu out of the action for most of the opening period after being substituted for Jalen Lucero after the third goal in the 27th minute saw its offense put together only two shots on goal with neither of them hitting the target in first 45 minutes. 

“Byan [Mugushu] and the forwards in general, have lacked service the last few games,” Utica’s head coach Brian Marcantonio said the next day after the game. “But, this is a collective issue. We need to link play better from the front and then get services into the box when we get the ball in wide positions. We’ve been reluctant to serve the ball, which has been part of the issue.”

Utica at the restart looked more positive. Eduardo Paez, who gave the Pioneers its first clean sheet of the season against Elmira College on Sept. 16, replaced Xidias in goal to start the second half. But the away side didn’t take long to pick up where they left off. On the far side, Ehrenfreund, again skipped past the Utica back line as if there was no one home, his shot proved good. The man who entered the game with only one goal this season; his hat trick gave the Continentals a 4-0 advantage in the 53rd minute. 

Paez came up big off a Hamilton long ball breakaway in the 61st minute. His touch was good enough to keep the ball out which prevented the opposition from scoring their fifth goal of the game.The home side kept the pressure as they searched for a consolation goal with 18 minutes left in the game. In the 79th minute, Caleb Peterson for Utica off a one-two combination got the ball some 20 yards out from Finn Wheeler in goal for Hamilton; his first touch was immediately met by a blue shirt. 

With the damage already done, the Pioneers were awarded a corner kick in the last three minutes. Cody Baker-Green’s inswinging cross the last gasp Utica had on goal was met by Wheeler’s fist as it ended 4-0 in a crushing defeat at the hands of the Continentals. 

“We need to work on trusting each other on the ball in the final third,” Leonard said. “And [have] patience to pick the right opportunity while [maintaining] control of the ball. At the end of the day, we have talented strikers that can tuck goals away.” 

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About the Contributors
Mickale Thompson
Mickale Thompson, Editor-In-Chief
Class Year: Senior Dual Major: Communication and Media & Business Management Previous Position: Contributing Writer (2021), Staff Writer (2021), Special Assignments Reporter (2022), Features Editor (2023), News Editor (2023)
Kayleigh Sturtevant
Kayleigh Sturtevant, Multimedia Editor
Class Year: Senior Major: Sports Management Previous Position: Multimedia Editor (Fall 2023)

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