By Miguel Gonzalez
The men’s soccer team earned a winning record this week after they defeated the Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham Devils, 4-1, and blanked the William Paterson University Pioneers, 2-0. For the week of Monday, Sept. 12, the College named sophomore midfielder Joerg Jauk Athlete of the Week for his penalty kick goal during the Lions 1-0 victory against the Keystone College Giants.
Competing at home, the Lions clobbered the Devils with four goals in the second half in their 4-1 victory. The Lions faced a familiar scenario to last week’s games against Keystone College and Whitworth University, in which the College also made many fruitless shots at the goal.
In the third minute, junior midfielder Peter Dresch launched a corner kick. Senior forward Thomas Hogue followed with a shot toward Devils junior goalkeeper JT Bretschneider — no goal.
Thirty minutes later, freshman forward Mateo Panizza dribbled toward the left corner and skedaddled through three Devils defenders before shooting wide off the post — no goal.
With three minutes remaining in the first half, senior midfielder Nick Costelloe blasted a hard shot toward the right corner. Bretschneider quickly dove in to block the shot — no goal.
“The challenge that we are facing this season is less about our opponent and more about playing as a unit,” Costelloe said. “When our offense heats up, we expect plenty of goals. We have struggled to keep the ball out of our net. Going down a goal or two early in a game is difficult to recover from.”
Meanwhile, Lions sophomore goalkeeper Dan Walsh kept the Devils off the scoreboard in his first career start. At the 37th minute, a Devil dribbled across the penalty box before Walsh slid into him for a save.
The Lions offense ignited in the second half with four goals on their way to a 4-1 victory. In the 56th minute, Hogue flickered the ball from the right side and senior forward Sean Etheridge headed in the team’s first goal.
Ten minutes later, the Devils countered when junior defender/midfielder Shawn Jennings tapped the ball toward the left post with an assist from senior midfielder Dylan Meyler.
The Lions responded with another goal when Panizza sent a pass through the middle of the penalty box. Costelloe secured the pass and scored on a short shot. The Lions never looked back and the offense scored two more goals on their way to a 4-1 victory over the Devils.
On Saturday, Sept. 17, the Lions traveled north to Wayne, N.J., for their first conference matchup against the William Paterson University Pioneers. Unlike the previous season, the Lions gained their first conference victory without conceding many losses. Five minutes into the match, sophomore midfielder Nick Sample crossed the ball from the left field while Etheridge headed the ball for a goal.
Two minutes later, Hogue had a chance to distance the Lions from the Pioneers, but Pioneers goalkeeper Kyle Quigley made the save. Both teams reached a stalemate until a Pioneers midfielder blasted a shot. Lions goalkeeper Walsh hastily saved the shot to maintain the Lions 1-0 lead.
The Lions offense started the second half with another goal when Hogue launched a shot into the upper left corner of the net with an assist from Dresch. Sample and Dresch followed the goal by hitting three shots at the Pioneers goalkeeper.
Toward the end of the match, Walsh and the defense endured a comeback from the Pioneers offense to secure the 2-0 shutout. During the 80th minute, Walsh was able to save two shots from a Pioneers defensive back and a midfielder. With two minutes remaining, Walsh recorded another save and intercepted a corner kick.
The Lions hit the road on Wednesday, Sept. 21, to compete against the Drew University Rangers. Afterwards, the Lions return home for another conference match against the New Jersey City University Gothic Knights on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 1 a.m.