A once-promising season is turning sour for the men’s soccer team, which extended its scoreless streak to 352 minutes in a pair of losses to Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark Universities last week en route to dropping into last place of the 10-team NJAC.
The Lions (4-8) have been shutout in five of their last seven games, a stretch in which they are 1-6, and head coach George Nazario is stumped on how to get goals.
“If I knew that, I wouldn’t be here right now,” a frustrated Nazario said after Saturday’s home loss to Rutgers-Newark. “If you don’t create chances there’s a problem, (but) if you create chances you’d think (a goal) is going to come.”
Nazario’s team has outshot opponents 173-131 over the course of the season, but just 6.4 percent of the its shots have been converted into goals compared to 12.2 percent for adversaries.
Basically, the finishing has not been there.
“It is (frustrating),” senior midfielder Kevin Shaw said. “We’ve got to turn it around sometime soon. There’s not much room left for us to keep doing this.”
Each loss makes a NJAC postseason appearance for the Lions seem less and less likely. Right now there are only six games remaining in the season, and the last playoff spot is property of a team at .500.
If the Lions are to close out the season on a positive note, though, the team will probably continue to lean on a sturdy defense and good goalkeeping from senior Matt Frederick and freshman Mike Libucha.
The Lions’ defensive unit has only allowed 1.25 goals per game as a unit in 2012, or .68 goals fewer than it did last year, and Libucha’s .83 goals against average is the best of any College keeper since 2009.
“(Libucha) has been great,” Shaw said. “He transferred here this year and he has been — both of our keepers have been — playing great to keep us in the games.”
But the Lions will need more than just goalkeeping to stop the bleeding and return to the win column.
“People are thinking about playoffs, it’s in the back of our minds,” Shaw said. “But we have to take it a game at a time to get back on track first.”