By Otto Gomez
The Lions have without a doubt started the season in a very strong way, registering three straight shutout victories. It is no surprise to the players that they have played this way.
“We worked hard during the offseason,” sophomore midfielder Kevin Nelan said. “Last season we weren’t able to achieve some team goals which caused us to change things up during the offseason.”
These changes have clearly led to a different atmosphere in the locker room and on the field.The first win came at home against York College in the season opener by a score of 5-0. This was Coach Nazario’s 200th career win, bringing his career mark to 200-142-41. Now in his 20th season, he expects to continue having the same success he’s experienced and is poised for a very strong season after a hot start.
The Lions got on the board against York late into the first period on a sliding touch goal by junior Mike Schiumo, a ball that was perfectly placed by senior Greg Kaye. The Lions completely broke through in the second half, scoring four goals in speedy fashion. Junior Sean Etheridge started it all with a goal just 10 minutes into the period. Junior Nick Costelloe and freshman Nick Sample then scored almost five minutes apart quickly making the game 4-0. Sophomore Michael Kassak ended the rout by scoring the team’s fifth goal with less than eight minutes to go. While the offense got a lot of the attention, the defense was spectacular as they only let up one shot on goal, saved by junior Jake Nesteruk, who shared the shutout with freshman Joe Jingoli.
The Lions moved on to the Drew University Fall Festival tournament for Labor Day weekend. In their first round matchup versus Staten Island College, defense reigned supreme until sophomore Peter Dresch broke up the scoreless tie with an assist from from juniors Thomas Hogue and Dominic Polidoro. Costelloe scored his second goal of the season to lock up the victory on an assist from Kassak. Nesteruk stayed strong in goal again, registering one save to preserve the victory.
Continuing their strong play in the tournament, the Lions defeated Roanoke College, 2-0. This game they got off to a strong start, scoring 23 minutes because of a Kassak penalty. With less than 12 minutes left in the game, Costelloe came up clutch again, scoring on an assist by senior Jordan Kayal. Nesteruk was a little busier this game, registering five saves en route to his third consecutive shutout.
“We had captain’s practices every Saturday which helped everyone maintain fitness and get touches on the ball but also brought us together to boost team chemistry,” Nelan said.
The team returns home to host Stevens Institute of Technology on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m.