No matter how many goals the men’s soccer team puts on the scoreboard, the success of the squad ultimately comes down to one man: the goalkeeper. That man in the net for the Lions thus far has been sophomore Eric Goldwaser.
After minimal playing time due to a case of mononucleosis early in the 2007 season, Goldwaser has come on strong in the 2008 season, allowing only two goals in his first four games. In the Lions’ season opener against Farleigh Dickinson University-Florham, Goldwaser blanked the Devils in nearly 85 minutes of work, giving the College a 3-0 victory. In his latest two matches, Goldwaser has surrendered two goals in 200 total minutes as the Lions defeated University of Redlands, 3-1, and tied Drew University in double overtime, 1-1.
His biggest outing of the season came Sunday against SUNY-Cobleskill, when he held the Fighting Tigers scoreless over 90 minutes, and the Lions pulled out a 1-0 win in their home opener.
When asked what earned him the starting job, Goldwaser said, “consistency.” He said his confidence level improved as the preseason progressed.
“I guess the coach liked what he saw,” he added.
During the offseason, Goldwaser traveled with a team to play soccer in Costa Rica and was asked to play professionally for six months, but he decided to continue his pursuit of a college education.
“It’s definitely a different team this year. The more we play, the better we get to know each other and learn each other’s style,” he said, commenting on the changes he has seen in the team over the last year. “We have a really young team this year, and people (think it is) going to be a rebuilding year, but it will not be. We have high potential and we compete with the best.”
To achieve their goals, the Lions need to concentrate on developing a strong focus, according to Goldwaser.
“We need to not get ahead of ourselves and focus on one game at a time,” he said. “That was a fall of ours last year. We also have a more difficult schedule this year.”
The Lions’ schedule is, in fact, an intense one. They are scheduled to face off against no less than three top-25 nationally ranked opponents, along with a difficult New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) schedule. Rowan University handed the Lions an early exit from the NJAC playoffs last year, but the Lions plan to improve on that showing.
“(Goldwaser) has proven himself in practices and he has done more right than wrong,” head coach George Nazario said. “That’s a good indicator of who you want in the net.”
Eric Goldwaser’s play will either be the Lions’ strength or their downfall, as a difficult schedule and an inexperienced team march through the season, but Goldwaser believes he is the man for the job. When asked to describe himself, he said: “Confident, motivated and most importantly, a leader.”