Bearing the goal burden

Men’s soccer continues low-scoring pattern

 

Lafayette Men’s Soccer has enjoyed some solid success this year, moving into the final stretch of the season at a record of 5-4-1, and 2-2-1 in conference.

Soccer is of course a low scoring game, so it’s no surprise that in over ten games this season, only ten goals have been scored.  

What is surprising, however, is the division of labor that the team has managed. Senior midfielder Ryan Egan is Lafayette’s top scoring player this year–with two goals. This means that the remaining eight goals scored in the season so far have been scored by eight different players.

As a matter of fact, in the 14 years since head coach Dennis Bohn first joined the Leopards, there has not been one player to score double digit goals in one season.  As far as he’s concerned, however, he couldn’t care less.  

“As long as we’re winning, I don’t care either way,” Bohn said.  “In a positive way, you can’t prepare for us, we’re unpredictable. Being unpredictable is a good thing and a bad thing, we never know who’s going to step up, but we have eight or nine different guys that could possibly and any moment step up and make an impact.”

For sophomore goalkeeper Brad Seeber, this distribution of goals follows the philosophy of the team.  

“It’s part of the culture of our team and we stressed it last spring,” Seeber said, “being selfless, giving it up to the open guy, not having that ego of I need to score this or I need to score that. It’d be great to get the recognitions and accolades but in the end it’s all about the team and our culture as a team.”

Seeber’s positioning as a goalkeeper allows him to see the game develop from a unique angle.  All ten field players are in his view,and the process of moving the ball into a scoring position is no better documented than from his position.  

“From the way we play you could have a 10 goal scorer just because we love to press, we love to turn teams over in their half so we can counter, and we love to get set pieces,” Seeber said.  

The promising young keeper went on to describe the differing tactical choices that the team employs to yield this kind of result. Organization on what he calls the “spine” of the team–the presence of a holding and forward midfielder, vertically aligned, leading up to two big forwards with the right and left backs sweeping up the flanks.  

“This year the goals have been a lot more in the run of play,” Seeber said.  “One of my favorite goals this season was just a 15 pass series, down the line to one of our freshman Kyle Pitett, who cut it back and played [sophomore midfielder] Aiden Passannante at the top of the box and he laid it off for Ryan Egan who hit a one timer, just curled it right around the keeper.”

Having nine different goal scorers makes a strong statement about the team. Especially from a tactical angle, it implies a level of unselfishness and creativity that does not favor a target player.  

Typically, many teams will find their goals pouring in from one or more strikers up top. Lafayette’s striking duo, made up of seniors Eric West and Greg Biggiani, has scored just one goal apiece. However, relying on a small number of players to score can cause problems.  

“We don’t like to be leaning on that way, because in soccer you have suspensions, cards, injuries, things can happen to that one stud so if the team is built around one or two players, that could crumble in a quick moment,” Bohn said. “I think our forwards have been creating chances, I think they’ve been working hard and being unselfish and doing everything I could think of to ask from them.”  

In the remaining four games of the season, it’s anyone’s guess who will step up and score. The Leopards will face Holy Cross next in a crucial Patriot League battle.

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