Men’s soccer drops games to Ramapo and Stevens

The Lions took two close losses this week against two quality opponents. (Tim Lee / Staff Photographer)

In the home opener against Stevens, the squad came out sluggish to start. In the first half, the Lions were only able to get off two shots, seeing themselves down by an early 2-0 deficit heading into the second half.

“Our problem with Stevens from the get-go was that we sat back and let them come to us,” said senior forward Chris Pisano. “We decided to have our forwards mark the outside backs and just sit back and let them dictate the pace of the game.”

With only six minutes left in the game, play started to pick up for the Lions. Junior midfielder Kevin Shaw cut through the defense and netted his second goal of the season to cut the score to 2-1. The Ducks responded quickly less than a minute later to push the margin back to two.

The Lions continued to put pressure on the Ducks as senior midfielder Ed Kozic took a feed from Shaw at the 86:27 mark to push the deficit back to one. Desperate to even up the score, the Lions scored a third goal in the 89th minute only to see it waved off due to a foul in the box.

“We knew we had to change things up and start pressing a little bit more,” said Pisano. “In the second half we changed from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3, so we had some more attacking power and we pressed their backs, and I think that’s why we started knocking on their door late in the game, just a little bit too late.”

In the conference opener against Ramapo, the Lions once again found themselves down in the second half. Down 1-0, the Lions clawed their way back to even the score at 1-1 by a goal from sophomore Sean Casey with only 11:57 left.

The momentum kept rolling for the Lions as they kept attacking the net, resulting in their first lead of the game by a goal from senior midfielder Anthony DiPalmo. Unfortunately, the Lions couldn’t keep the opposition away from the net as the Roadrunners evened the score at two, sending the game into overtime.

“With Ramapo, it almost seemed like the same situation against Stevens,” Pisano said. “The first half was not full of many opportunities at all but as soon as we got into the second half we seemed to be on the attacking half for seemingly the entire half.”

Just six minutes into the first overtime, the Roadrunners hit the back of the net with the deciding goal, handing the College its third loss of the season. It was a  tough loss for the Lions to swallow, as they outshot the Roadrunners 23-11 while holding a 7-3 edge in corner kicks.

Despite the two heartbreaking losses this past week, the Lions have played well — much better than their 3-3 record suggests, based on their 12 goals for vs. their 10 goals against on the season.

The Lions will look to rebound next week as they have three big games, hoping to further cement their place in the upper echelons of the NJAC and national ranks.

“I believe these games will serve as a huge lesson for us all, and it’s better that it happened earlier in the season rather than later,” said Pisano. “I think everyone will take something away from these games and use it to propel themselves for the upcoming conference games in our way.”