By Miguel Gonzalez
The men’s soccer team was roaring and pouring goals at the Soccer Complex all week.
The Lions remain undefeated this season after cruising past the College of Mount Saint Vincent on Wednesday, Sept. 5. This weekend, the College hosted the 2018 Men’s Soccer Classic where the team triumphed over Gettysburg College on Saturday, Sept. 8 and Elizabethtown College on Sunday, Sept. 9.
After traveling for the first two games of the season, the Lions returned to Ewing, New Jersey for their home opener and won against Mount Saint Vincent with eight goals against their rival.
In the 11th minute, freshmen defender Timmy Suchora sent a cross from the right side of the field. Standing at the penalty area, sophomore midfielder Ryan Vazquez ran through and leaped for a header to put the Lions ahead, 1-0.
Vazquez went on to score two more goals starting with a tap-in goal from the left goalpost in the 20th minute. Just two minutes later, Vazquez completed a hat trick when he leaped for another header shot from a corner kick by senior midfielder Nick Sample.
In the 30th minute, sophomore forward Abdullah Afridi scored the team’s fourth goal when he kicked a screaming, powerful shot from 25 yards out. Just a minute later, Sample joined the Lions’ scoring rampage when he netted off a volley pass from Suchora.
While Lions’ offense was cooking, the team’s defense stifled Saint Vincent and only allowed one shot. Taking advantage of Saint Vincent’s sloppy touch skills, the Lions’ defense kept feeding pass after pass to Vazquez and Sample.
The second half was no different. In the 59th minute, freshman midfielder Ryan Santos ran past opponents at the penalty and scored a tap-in goal off an assist from Afridi. In the following play, Afridi scored his second goal when he kicked a diagonal shot from the right side of the penalty box.
Sophomore midfielder Ethan Muller finished the Lions’ offensive burst off a rebound a shot. Altogether, the team dominated Saint Vincent and recorded a whooping 54 shots.
The team was in for a challenge at the start of the 2018 Men’s Soccer Classic. Coming off a successful 2017 season, Gettysburg College proved to be a worthy opponent, but the Lions still captured a 2-1 win.
Despite a scoreless first half, Gettysburg struck first in the 46th minute when freshman midfielder Oladayo Thomas gathered a pass and shot straight into the Lion’s’ net.
Vazquez equalized the match when he leaped for a header shot in the 63rd minute. Both teams then entered into a stalemate until senior midfielder Joerg Jauk helped the Lions break through.
With the Lions securing a free kick opportunity in the 88th minute, Sample kicked a long pass toward Gettysburg’s net, where Jauk jumped and headed the game winning goal.
On a breezy, damp Sunday afternoon, the Lions battled Elizabethtown College and seized a 3-1 victory. Afridi quickly put the Lions on top when he dribbled past Elizabethtown’s goalkeeper and effortlessly scored a goal.
Elizabethtown immediately responded with more physical play. As both teams pushed and bumped each other for possession, the Lions captured an opportunity.
In the 17th minute, Jauk hit a laser shot to the left post and put the Lions ahead, 2-0, off a penalty kick. During the second half, the team withstood Elizabethtown’s comeback attempt and added an insurance goal to ultimately win the match, 3-1.
The Lions hope continue their hot 5-0 start on Wednesday, Sept. 12, when they take on Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham at the Soccer Complex at 7:30 p.m. The team then faces their first New Jersey Athletic Conference match against Rutgers University-Newark on Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Soccer Complex at 1 p.m.