When attackmen Rory Averett and Kyle Boncaro and midfielder Matt Lynch graduated after last season, Goucher lost more than 700 career points. So how would the offense respond in 2013?
The team caught a glimpse Saturday in a 13-9 victory over Birmingham-Southern in which the offense scored 11 goals in the second half. Junior Pierce Ingram recorded four goals and two assists and senior Zachary Fratella posted three goals from the first midfield, and the starting attack of sophomore Sam Morgan, junior Max Roach and sophomore Dylan Zook combined for four goals and five assists.
“I thought that was good because the question surrounding the team was, who was going to score?” coach Brian Kelly said. “So that was big for us. We got production from a number of guys. … Overall, the feeling was very positive on the offensive end.”
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The flipside of the Gophers scoring 11 goals in the second half is that they managed to score just twice in the first half. The offense took just 15 of 41 shots in that stanza and put nine on cage. But Kelly said he wasn’t alarmed at the lack of goals in the first half.
“We executed our offense and created good scoring opportunities, but we didn’t finish in the first half,” he said. “That’s going to happen in a 60-minute game. There are going to be times when the other team is going to win and sometimes that might be in the first half. Sometimes that might be the second and third quarters. I’ve always likened our game to the game of basketball, and each team at some point is going to go on a run. We kind of had a little bit of a drought, but it’s not because we were really bad offensively. Their goalie made some plays at times, and our guys were shooting at some bad spots. Ultimately, we executed the same offense and began finishing plays. We were putting the ball in spots where their goalie couldn’t get to them.”
The Panthers are the first of three consecutive opponents that qualified for last year’s NCAA tournament. Washington College – which lost to Goucher in the first round – will visit Gopher Stadium in Towson before Goucher travels to meet Gettysburg on Wednesday. After contests with Randolph-Macon and McDaniel, the Gophers will tangle with Stevenson on March 9.
The schedule was already completed before Kelly succeeded Kyle Hannan in September, but Kelly said he prefers a tough opening slate.
“Last year, we opened with Washington and Gettysburg after playing in Texas,” he said. “We feel like we’re at a point in our program where we want to play a top-notch schedule. I think ultimately, this stretch of games … is a pretty tough opening stretch, but I think those contests and those opportunities to play against quality opponents are going to help us when we play in our conference.”