The Lawrence University men’s soccer team continued their struggles in front of the goal this weekend. While Coach Blake Johnson has tightened the defense considerably, this year the offense has presented a different set of problems. The team employs a 4-4-2 formation (four defenders, four midfielders and two forwards), with a flat back four. This system has eliminated the defensive frailties of last year, but has left the forwards somewhat isolated up front. The team has scored a woeful seven goals in nine games so far with a shot percentage of 9.5% (7 for 74).
Lawrence was beaten 0-2 at home by Carroll College on Sept. 30 to drop to 1-3 in the conference and 3-6 overall. Possession was fairly even throughout the game, the difference being Carroll converted their chances while Lawrence did not.
Carroll College opened the scoring at the eight minute mark when Matt Zidron scored on an assist from Joe Snyder. Andy Matson then put the game out of Lawrence’s reach just 23 seconds into the second period on an assist from Brian McCabe.
On Sept. 28, Lawrence hosted Clarke College in a non-conference match. Dan Putterman won the game for Lawrence with a goal in the 32nd minute.
Mark Wendling broke down the right side and crossed for Putterman to one-time a shot into the opposition net from the left edge of the box.
The 1-0 score, however, fails to reflect the dominance of the home team. In the first period alone, Lawrence outshot Clarke eleven to three.
Eight more opportunities passed by in the second period as the home team continued to apply pressure, only to falter at the crucial moment.
Team captain and central defender Tom Conti says, “We tend to fall apart when we have the ball in the attacking third of the field. What we need is to bear down more. We create chances, but we don’t seem to be able to finish them.”
Lawrence’s next conference game is away at St. Norbert on Oct. 10. The team’s chances of making the MWC Championships in November hinge on them winning this game. Should they lose, they would need to win their remaining four conference games; a tall task for any team, let alone a team who averages less than one goal per game.