For the third straight week, the College’s men’s soccer team was held scoreless in two straight games. This week, however, the team paid dearly as it suffered two defeats, a 2-0 loss to Rowan University and a 1-0 loss to Rutgers University-Camden.
Although, two weeks ago the Lions were able to get by with two scoreless ties, their luck ran out last week against the two New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) opponents.
Going into last Wednesday’s home game against Rowan, the Lions’ freshman goalkeeper Michael Cladek had a streak of 220 minutes without surrendering a goal. His first two starts ended in shutouts for him, so hopes were high going up against the Profs.
Cladek let up a goal at 7:51 to Rowan’s sophomore forward, Michael Lodge. Shortly thereafter, Cladek had to be removed from the game after suffering a hard hit that resulted in blurry vision.
Senior captain Shawn Mecchi subbed in for Cladek and held the Rowan offense in check until deep into the second half. Mecchi let up the second goal of the game when he aggressively charged a ball that had been lobbed deep into the Lions’ defensive zone, but the ball took a high hop off the hard turf and Rowan’s sophomore back Robert McMullen was able to capitalize on Mecchi’s mistake.
The College had opportunities all throughout the game, but could not find the back of the net. Head coach George Nazario said he was frustrated with the Lions’ lack of offense.
“If I knew the answer, I’d try to fix it,” Nazario said. “We’re getting opportunities but we just can’t score.”
The Lions’ offensive ineptitudes carried into their game against Rutgers-Camden. Cladek was back in goal and was stellar once again. The game was scoreless for the first 90 minutes and was forced into overtime.
But, with just a minute remaining in the first overtime, Camden’s junior back Tom Blumenstein scored his first goal of the season to give the Scarlet Raptors the win.
The Lions fell to 5-4-2 overall and 0-3-2 in the NJAC and have gone six straight games without scoring a goal.
Nazario is not the only person frustrated with the College’s lack of offense. Freshman forward Nicholas Kiel knows that the team is playing hard and their aggression will soon translate into wins.
“We aren’t scoring and we are mad,” Kiel said. “But we have dominated these teams by playing so well together. I think we need to keep our heads on and not be intimated. That loss (against Rutgers-Newark) really killed us, so we need to be out for blood.”
“I’m having a good time, but right now we’re not winning,” freshman midfielder Kolja Mueller said. Once we start winning again I’ll be having a great time. I hope we can make it to the playoffs. We just need a little more luck on our side.”
The Lions look to change their luck tonight at Drew University at 7 p.m. On Saturday the Lions will be home to take on Elizabethtown College at 1 p.m.