Squandered: Playoffs slip away for men’s soccer

Lafayette men’s soccer needed much to go right to control their own destiny last Saturday evening. The pieces fell into place, but the team failed to capitalize, losing 1-0 to Loyola Maryland to become eliminated from playoff contention.

First, Bucknell needed to defeat Boston University and American needed to defeat Colgate. Both happened and left Lafayette (4-6-8, 2-5-2 PL) in a must win situation against Loyola Maryland. The three points from the victory would have allowed the Leopards to make their third Patriot League Tournament in the past five seasons and have the opportunity to defend their Patriot League championship from a season ago.

Unfortunately for Lafayette, the 1-0 overtime loss to the Greyhounds followed a consistent trend prevalent throughout the season: the defense kept them in the match while the offense struggled to score goals. While Lafayette’s defense was second in the league in goals against and third in shutouts, the Leopards won just one of ten overtime matches and nine of those matches went into double overtime.

“Last season we played better down the stretch, and while I think that’s the case this year as well, we just didn’t step up and make the plays necessary to win close games,” captain Alec Golini ‘14 said. “A lot of the games we tied this year, we likely would have found a way to win last season.”

The defense was rewarded for its success throughout the season on Monday with All-Patriot League Second Team honors awarded to junior Julian Plummer. Plummer along with teammates Erik Cannon ‘14, Brandon Turner ‘14, and Nate Arronson ‘16 fronted the defense that let in just 0.7 goals per game. The defensemen helped post eight clean sheets, tying them for third amongst Patriot League teams.

With the offseason coming up, the team looks to regain its contending abilities that it had less than a year ago.

“The winter and spring will be a lot of work but we have a great group of returning guys ready to fill spots and come out next year with a chip on our shoulder,” Golini said.