Leopards spurred forward by Biggiani’s form

Brian O'Neill

On September 13, time wound down for men’s soccer as rain poured at Metzger field, and the Leopard’s situation seemed tragic and desperate.

A stunning effort by St. Francis’ Nyel Patel seemed to be a dagger for Lafayette in the dying minutes of what had been an even and intense game, and the home team struggled to respond until junior striker Greg Biggiani answered with a powerful header to the left corner of the net, capitalizing on freshman midfielder Daniel Felman’s cross, and drawing the game level.

The team went wild, giving the big forward a hero’s welcome at the bench, swarming him with affection and applause.

This celebration was a particularly raucous one because, shockingly, this was not only Biggiani’s first goal of the season, but of his entire Leopard career.

“I thought of what I was going to do when i scored that first goal, always was thinking about it, and there’s just nothing better than celebrating with your teammates,” Biggiani said, reliving his exciting memory. “It kinda saved us from losing that game, with credit to everyone else of course.”

The big forward scored his second on Tuesday’s game against Albany, a winner this time.

“We made it through 90 minutes of regulation, not a goal for either team,” Biggiani recalled. “Two minutes into the second overtime, the ball was played in the middle, there was a scramble, one of our players won it, passed it out wide to Nate Aronson, who then delivered me a perfect ball. I just happened to be making my usual run, and was right there for it.

“Thank God I got a foot on the end of it. I got taken out by the goalie and went on my knees for a second, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, we just won in overtime,'” Biggiani said.

Though this late start to Biggiani’s goal-scoring career could easily have been met with skepticism, head coach Dennis Bohn stressed the importance of confidence in Biggiani’s development over the past few years.

“He’s worked really really hard to become a complete player, to understand both sides of the ball, to link his teammates and get his teammates involved, to get better in the middle third with his back to goal, and to get on the end of good service has been a big part of his development,” Bohn said. “He didn’t get on the end of any crosses his first two years, and now he’s had two game winners in the last four games, both off crosses.”

Bohn went on to note the initial deception of Biggiani’s playing style based on his size.

Biggiani took some time to adjust from his lucrative goal scoring ways in high school, where he netted 49 times in his career, scoring predominantly from his feet.

“I never really scored any head goals, and I was always ripped on for it. And then my first collegiate goal was a header,” Biggiani said.

“He’s always had some of those physical make-ups that make people think, ‘oh, he’s going to be a great target forward’,” Bohn said.

“He’s had to learn a lot, and to his credit he’s embraced it,” Bohn added.

Another large adjustment came with his acclimation to a solitary role up front, where previously he had played with a partner while leading the line.

“He’s used to playing in a two forward system,” Bohn said, “so he’s had to adapt playing as a lone striker. Sometimes that takes time.”

Having felt the euphoria of goal-scoring success, Biggiani can only hope for more.

“I want to keep scoring. There is no better feeling than scoring. It’s a rush like nothing else.”

Lafayette Men’s soccer have managed to move to a 3-3-1 overall record this season, and remain undefeated in their past four games.

They play at home against Colgate this Saturday, opening their Patriot League season.