Freshman forward Ray Nelan scored his first collegiate goal, his first collegiate game-winner and brought an end to the men’s soccer team’s two-game losing streak all in one swift motion.
Nelan’s goal was the only one scored in the team’s final match at the Christopher Newport University (CNU) Classic as the Lions upended the Methodist Marauders 1-0 Sunday afternoon. Freshman midfielder Anthony DiPalmo picked up the assist.
“My first goal was mostly a relief for me, I feel as if it’s something I can build on and continue to do more of,” Nelan said.
The freshman hero believes his team can rebound from its disappointing week.
“After dropping two it’s always nice to get a win. We still need to get things sorted out in hopes to be more successful,” he said. “It is still very early in the season and we’ve yet to play an NJAC game so now is the time to have our lapses.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Eric Goldwaser notched his second solo shutout of the season, recording four saves in the process. The stellar play has put him at 4-1-1 on the season.
“We played more as a team and more for each other than we had been in the past few games and things started to click,” Goldwaser said. “We possessed the ball more and played well against a very aggressive Methodist squad.”
With the victory, the 19th-ranked College now stands at 4-2-1 and is on the verge of hitting the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) portion of their schedule.
The week did not come without its lows, however, as the Lions dropped the first game of the Classic to host school CNU, 3-1.
The Captains dominated the contest, scoring three unanswered goals to begin the game. The Lions scored a goal later on, but it was too little too late and failed to provide any momentum.
“There were certainly aspects of the game that showed need for improvement,” senior forward Chris Nelan said.
The Lions suffered another tough loss as they were handily defeated by fifth-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology, 3-0. Junior forward Terrence Johnson notched a hat trick to lead the Ducks to victory.
“It was pretty tough losing to Stevens 3-0 but we knew it was going a hard game,” senior forward Kevin Luber said. “We played tough and I feel that any other night the result is different. We have a good team and we will prove it in coming games.”
The College only managed two shots-on-goal all game.
“Having to deal with being on the road and injuries is never easy and CNU played very hard,” Goldwaser said. “Things didn’t fall into place for us as we had hoped.”
The Lions are looking to start a new string of victories in the coming games ahead, especially those within the NJAC.
“As tough as these games were, they are preparing us well for the NJAC games we have shortly ahead,” Goldwaser said.
Luber also believes the NJAC schedule will be good for the team, as he expects the team to regain its focus against its conference rivals.
“We are a pretty young team and we’re still working out the kinks. We all know the real season starts this Saturday with the opening of NJACs.”
Luber attributed part of this week’s shortcomings to the youth of the team, adding the squad can only improve over time.
“After going down to CNU, losing the opening game was tough. We had high hopes of going down there and taking both games but that wasn’t the case,” he said. “I have faith in the guys that they will be mentally prepared for these games. If that happens we will go on a nice run and take a few games in a row and carry some momentum.”
The team’s next game is scheduled for tonight, as the College hosts C.W. Post at 7:30 p.m. at Lions’ Stadium.
Michael O’Donnell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org