Lions finally find the net but still lose twice

The College’s men’s soccer team finally put an end to their seven-game scoreless streak last week, but still suffered two rough defeats to non-conference teams.

Last Wednesday, the College took on Drew University, the 2003 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III National runner-ups. It was a good test for the Lions and they battled them hard the whole game, but still came up short 1-0.

Both defenses held strong for the first 70 minutes and no goals were surrendered until Drew’s junior midfielder Ian Klein connected on a pass from senior midfielder Michael Jacobsen to give Drew a 1-0 lead. That was how the game ended, marking the seventh straight scoreless game for the College.

On Saturday night the College looked to stop their skid at home against Elizabethtown College. They fell just short once again, this time by a score of 2-1.

Elizabethtown started the scoring with only seven seconds remaining in the first half, when freshman forward Brian Raveling scored on an assist from freshman midfielder Steve Petroski.

With 13 minutes remaining in the game, junior midfielder Matt Connor finally ended the Lions’ scoring plight at 756:47 minutes of action with an unassisted goal. The celebration did not last long however, as seconds later Elizabethtown moved the ball down the field and responded to the College’s goal with a quick goal of their own. Junior forward Andrew Kummerer scored on a pass from senior defenseman Chris Boushell.

That goal would prove to be the game winner when the College lost their eighth game in a row, 2-1.

Freshman goalkeeper Michael Cladek, who played solidly and had seven saves in the contest, said he thinks Connor’s goal will spark the team on to victory in upcoming games.

“It has been difficult preparing for games,” Cladek said. “I feel like if I give up one goal, then the game is over. I think Matt’s goal got the monkey off our backs and will rejuvenate us for the playoff run.”

Currently, the Lions are No. 7 out of nine teams in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). Only the top six teams gain entrance into the NJAC playoffs, and head coach George Nazario said if the Lions win their remaining three conference games, they will make the playoffs.

“Right now we just have to worry about winning games and then wait to see how the rest of the teams do,” Nazario said. “We have already played the toughest teams of the conference and two out of the last three teams that we will play in the NJAC are still winless.”

Senior defender Jim Cooney said he has enough experience to know that this team has what it takes to make the playoffs, but the team is going to really have to come together if it is going to happen.

“The morale is still pretty low,” Cooney said, “but that goal made us realize that the talent is there. We have to put all the pieces together now. We have to play strong defense, like we’ve done for much of the year, and we need to put away the chances we have in front of the goal.”

Today the Lions have their final regular season home game against winless Rutgers University-Newark. On Saturday the College will travel to Grantham, Pa. to take on Messiah College.