At first glance, Goucher’s 11-6 loss at Messiah six days ago in the season opener for both teams seemed to be a pointed critique of the team’s lethargic offense.
After all, the Gophers scored just one goal in the second half. They launched just four shots in the last two quarters, including one attempt in the third period.
But coach Brian Kelly said the punchless offense was symptomatic of several other shortcomings.
“We didn’t have the ball,” he said Tuesday morning. “We wound up losing faceoffs. When we did have the ball, we wound up turning it over. We had several turnovers in the third quarter, and with the faceoffs, they dominated possession in the second half. We generated 12 shots in the first half and then we only had 16 total with one shot in the third quarter. It was not a great second half.”
In the last two quarters, the team won just three of nine faceoffs, committed nine of its 19 turnovers, and collected just seven of its 28 ground balls. Kelly noted that during one sequence, three Goucher players appeared to outnumber a Falcons player in a sprint for a loose ball, but failed to come up with the possession, which Messiah converted into a goal.
“These are 18- to 22-year-old kids, and you don’t know what’s going through their minds,” Kelly said. “The consistency piece is what we’re searching for. It’s one of those things where you don’t want to make excuses for losing games. We got beat by a team that played with a lot more energy. They were flying around, they were picking up ground balls, and for whatever reason, we weren’t.”
The Gophers face No. 5 Gettysburg (1-0) on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Gopher Stadium in Towson. That matchup does not appear to bode well for Goucher, but Kelly said there’s plenty of season that needs to play out – including the Landmark Conference schedule.
“It’s Feb. 23 today,” he said. “We’re hoping that we’re going to make a run in our conference to get into the playoffs and have an opportunity to compete for a championship. So in that respect, we’ll keep pressing on and not get too bogged down about a game played on Feb. 17.”