strongEvan Sporer, Beacon Staff/strong
Losing stalwart players like Mike Giles, a two-year captain, and Eric Dabdoub, who was third in the country in assists per game in 2010, put Emerson men’s soccer in a bind. After saying goodbye to two of the team’s best players at graduation last May, the Lions had lost their first four games of the year this season, while scoring only five goals.
Then again, the future is now.
Emerson trounced Great Northeast Athletic Conference foe Rivier College 7-0 Saturday, extending its winning streak to four games with four freshmen finding their way onto the scoring sheet.
Since the team’s 0-4 start, head coach Jared Scarpaci’s men have won five out of six contests, outscoring their opponents 21-5 over the six game stretch. While the Lions have found the back of the net with ease lately, goals did not come as easily at the beginning of the season. But Scarpaci still knew it was going to be a different kind of season.
“I think we just have a little bit more team chemistry on the field,” Scarpaci said in a phone interview.
Against Rivier, the chemistry was evident as five different Lions combined to score the team’s seven goals. During the team’s four-game winning streak, 10 different Lions have gotten in on the scoring act.
It took Emerson 48 minutes to break through against Rivier’s defenses, as Raiders’ goalkeeper Bryar King managed five saves in the first half, keeping the Lions off the scoreboard.
But on the Lions’ first attempt in the second half, Jacob Lawrence cashed in as he collected a deflected ball off the foot of Evan Gooden and rifled a shot on goal, finally getting Emerson on the board.
“It’s really helped my confidence as player,” Gooden said of his early season success. The freshman is tied for the team lead with five goals and has added two assists.
Lawrence, who led Emerson and the GNAC in goals last season, was held scoreless in the team’s first seven contests. In its last four, Lawrence had six goals.
“He’s always dangerous,” Scarpaci said after Lawrence scored his first goal against Wheelock College. “Even when he’s not scoring.”
Senior captain Ken Nikravesh quickly provided the Lions with their second goal, again on an assist from Gooden. Gooden then added his own tally a mere 42 seconds later, and the Lions were ahead 3-0.
“Evan brings a great attitude to every practice and every game,” Scarpaci said, praising the freshman for his work ethic and contributions to the team. “He’s got some raw talent and some raw speed.”
Nikravesh and Lawrence each added a second goal following Gooden’s tally, as the Lions cruised the rest of the way to an easy victory.
“Jacob has found his scoring touch,” Scarpaci said.
The team extended its winning streak to five after defeating Anna Maria 3-0 last night.
emSporer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ev_sporer. /em