Out to prove themselves

Jeff McLaughiln ‘14 dribbles the ball to the goal against Bryant on Tuesday night.

Jeff McLaughiln ‘14 dribbles the ball to the goal against Bryant on Tuesday night.

Photo courtesy of goleopards.com

Believe it or not, the Lafayette men’s soccer team had to prove itself this past week. Gone are four contributors from last year’s Patriot League Championship squad, including captain and All-League selection Sean Peckham ‘13. Pegged to finish fourth in the preseason polls behind American University and league newcomers Boston University and Loyola Maryland, Lafayette is out to prove last year’s championship was no fluke.

Through one week of the regular season, Lafayette (1-0-2) is for the most part on the right track.

Last Sunday, Lafayette opened its season against a talented La Salle squad. The game started promisingly for the Leopards when forward Chuka Anyafo ’17 brought in a rebound off the goalpost and converted it into a goal.

La Salle scored off a penalty kick that flew just by McDonald’s outstretched fingertips and then took the lead on an upper corner strike in the 65th minute. Finally, with less than two minutes remaining until stoppage time, Alec Golini ’14 headed the ball across the penalty area to a streaking Ryan Dodds ’15 who footed the ball past the Explorer goalkeeper for the tying goal.

Against Bryant at home on Tuesday night, Lafayette was led by senior striker Peter Adubato’s two goals – one on a header, the other a kick. Midfielders Bryan White ‘14 and Chandler Fraser-Pauls ‘15 assisted each goal, respectively. Goalkeeper Nathan McDonald ’14 kept Bryant at bay until the 82nd minute, when the game was all but out of reach.

“We played very hard and with a lot of energy against La Salle,” said Coach Dennis Bohn, who has led Lafayette to three Patriot League Championships in his 12-year tenure. “I thought we defensively played better against Bryant though.”

On Wednesday, Lafayette went wire to wire with St. Peter’s in a scoreless game. Goalkeeper Nathan McDonald ‘14 made four saves for his twelfth career shutout. Lafayette had its chances, but couldn’t finish.

Lafayette looks to continue its modest unbeaten streak on Wednesday when it takes on St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, N.J. St. Peter’s lost its season opener 1-0 against Temple University.

Going forward, Bohn has identified one clear attribute of his team.

“This year’s team has a toughness that I really like,” Bohn said. “They are a physical and aggressive group while still being smart and disciplined. We need to improve in a ton of areas but hopefully they can continue to bring the positive energy that they showed in our first two games.”