Tough week for men's soccer team yields two losses
La Salle’s men’s soccer team lost two games the week before heading into Atlantic 10 play. After dropping decisions to the Bucknell Bison and the Temple Owls, the Explorers will enter conference play riding a three-game losing streak.
The team was able to get on the board first against Bucknell, as junior Brian Barry scored his first goal of the season in the sixth minute. Sophomore Jim Guntle set Barry up for his first assist. It was all downhill from there, though, as the Bison scored once in each half to win 2-1. It was the Explorers’ fourth loss by a single goal.
Head coach Pat Farrell was not entirely disappointed by the loss.
“Bucknell won the Patriot League last year, and we played them tough,” Farrell said. “We try to play a tough preseason schedule to get ready for the A-10 games, and teams like [Bucknell] are part of that.”
La Salle hoped to bounce back on Saturday against A-10 and Philadelphia Soccer Seven rival Temple. After a scoreless half, the Owls were able to put two in the net in the second stanza to shut the Explorers out 2-0. It was the second time La Salle has been shut out this season, and they dropped to 2-6-1.
The Explorers were stifled by a strong Temple defense, and were only able to get off three shots in the entire game.
“The preseason serves to identify our limitations,” Farrell said. “We must eliminate the mistakes that we’ve made. We have a lot of experienced players, and we always play with a higher intensity in the conference games.”
There has been some silver lining for the Explorers.
One bright spot has been the production of freshman Ryan Richter. He is tied with junior Kevin Lydic for the team lead in points and goals.
“He’s come in and done a good job for us,” Farrell said. “He’s somebody who has established himself a solid role on this team.”
Although they have not had the best pre-conference schedule in terms of their win-loss record, Farrell is confident that his team can get off to a hot start in its A-10 games. The team is 2-0 thus far on artificial surfaces, one of which came at McCarthy Stadium. The first five games of conference play will be played on artificial surfaces, first at Fordham on Friday, and then four straight home games.
The team’s speed can be exploited on the faster surfaces, led by speedsters such as senior Jeremy Ortiz up front and senior Geoff Schaeffer in the back.
The Explorers are set to get the A-10 games under way, beginning with Fordham on Friday.
“We will be ready to compete,” Farrell said.
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