The halfway point on the 2013 season is fast approaching. However, the Shepherd University men’s soccer team continues to struggle. The Rams currently find themselves ranked last in the Mountain East Conference men’s soccer standings with a disappointing 1-6-1 overall record. Their lone win this season came on Sept. 11 against Chowan and since then they have only managed to score two goals in a draw and four losses. Shepherd’s most recent stumbles have come against Wheeling Jesuit, West Virginia Wesleyan and Notre Dame of Ohio.
On Sept. 22, the Rams fell to MEC rival Wheeling Jesuit by a final score line of 2-1. The Cardinals took an early lead at the 1:16 mark when David Healy scored off a well placed assist from Luke Roan. Nonetheless, minutes later at the 4:52 mark, the Rams responded and tied the game when senior Griffin Frazier passed the ball to junior Kyle Ransom who scored. The teams remained tied until the 30:41 mark when Jeff Cenceimi tallied an unassisted goal to give Wheeling Jesuit the lead and complete the scoring in the match as the Rams were unable to find the back of the net for a second time.
After falling to Wheeling Jesuit, Shepherd travelled to Buckhannon, WV on Sept. 25 to face West Virginia Wesleyan where they would go on to suffer a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching 2-1 extra time loss. The Rams recorded the first goal of the match; however, it did not come until the 83:55 mark when junior Ricky Johnson scored unassisted. Unfortunately for the Rams, the Bobcats came roaring back just minutes later. At the 88:15 mark of the game, with the match nearing its end, Richard Sho-Silva scored on a header off an impressive cross from teammate Jordan Halpern to tie the game and eventually force overtime. In overtime, the Rams were unable to respond. Instead, at the 99:25 mark, Ante Susic scored an unassisted goal to help West Virginia Wesleyan claim a fortunate come from behind victory.
Finally, Shepherd dropped a 5-0 decision in their most recent match against Notre Dame College of Ohio on Sept. 28. The Rams remained irrelevant for the majority of the match and they struggled against the highly ranked Falcons who were led by Renan Troccoli as he scored a goal and assisted on two others. Moreover, Notre Dame of Ohio recorded 32 shots in this game compared to only seven shots for Shepherd.
If Shepherd wants to finish better than in the cellar, they are going to have start grinding out positive results sooner rather than later. A team that has so much trouble scoring goals really needs to consider a change in offensive philosophy. Playing a lone striker can have disastrous results if the forward is not supremely skilled. The Rams are struggling to find the back of net right now and until they do, their struggles will continue to fester.