The Lafayette men’s soccer team improved to 3-0-1 with a home win over Monmouth on Tuesday, after they tied St. Francis Brooklyn this past Saturday. The Leopards defense began the season with three straight shutouts led by sophomore goalie Alex Sutton, including the tie against St. Francis.
The win against Monmouth ties their record to this point from 2010, the last time the team went undefeated through four games. That team was also 3-0-1, but ended up 8-7-3.
Sutton was tagged with a yellow card in the St. Francis matchup, but played all 110 minutes and saved all five shots on goal. The three shutouts in a row were the first time the Leopards accomplished the feat since 2016 and the first time an individual goalie did it since 2015 (Brad Seeber ’18).
In the matchup against Monmouth, the Leopards fell behind right before halftime by a score of 2-1. Senior forward James Gibson netted the Leopards’ only first half goal, tying the game in the 36th minute. It was within two minutes of halftime that Monmouth retook the lead before the break.
However, Lafayette stormed back with four goals in the second half to beat the Hawks by a score of 5-2. Lafayette had not trailed all season before their deficit in the first half.
Sophomore forward Marcos Kitromilides tied the game just over seven minutes into the second half, and senior midfielder Ryan Goncalves gave the Leopards the lead eight minutes later. Sophomore forward Sebastian Varela tacked on two more in the last twenty minutes.
“We just have the motto of playing simple and playing smart in the back,” senior defender Christian Williams said. “We have just done a good job defensively staying organized, talking a lot, communicating, keeping a good balance back there defensively, but also offensively. We hope to keep it going.”
In last week’s matchup against St. Francis, Sutton recorded five saves and no goals allowed, while in the matchup versus Monmouth he conceded 2 goals and made 4 saves. He has now recorded three shutouts in four games.
The five-goal outburst was the team’s first since 2003.
“This year we have a lot of depth up there,” Williams said of the offense. “A lot of kids have been rotating a lot, we’ve been subbing a lot which keeps our energy high. We’ve created more chances and shots on goal [than] in past seasons, which is good. If the chances keep going we’re going to score more goals.”
After getting off to a 3-1 start last fall, the Leopards won just two more games the rest of the season. The offense scored just three goals in the nine conference games last season, and only earned a victory in one of the contests.
“Last spring we changed our formation and changed our style of play to be more attacking in numbers, as well as having better balance defensively,” Williams said. “I think just having people buying into the formation and the way we play has helped a lot.”
Next up, the Leopards visit the Temple Owls in Philadelphia at 7:30 p.m. tonight.