RANDOLPH, NJ- A five minute lapse in concentration during the middle of the first half proved to be the undoing for the Randolph boys soccer team when they played Mount Olive on Tuesday Oct, 3. The Rams gave up two soft goals in that stretch which made the difference in their 2-1 loss to the Mauraders.
The Rams had a few chances to grab the lead early on, one of them a narrowly missed header attempt that went just wide left of the goal, off a free kick into the box from midfield. But it was the Mauraders who struck first at the 23 minute mark, when a nice centering pass from the right side was redirected into the net.
Just five minutes later at the 18 minute mark, a failed clearing attempt led to a fluke goal, when Rams goalie Justin Lawrences’ clearing kick ricocheted off a Mount Olive player who quickly corralled the ball and easily kicked it into the empty net.
In the first half we lost a little bit of focus defensively, and we allowed them to slip those two goals in,” said Rams coach George Mousis. “That deflated us a little bit, but we came back strong and got a goal of our own. I was proud of their effort overall.”
The Rams cut the lead in half at the nine minute mark, when Chris Lubrano took a pass from Dante Dezenzo, dribbled toward the goal and then fired a shot from thirty yards out that sailed into the top right corner of the net. The half ended 2-1 Mt. Olive.
The game play that was tilted slightly in the Rams favor during the first half, turned into total control for Randolph in the second half, with the ball in the Mt. Olive end for the majority of the half. Randolph kept the Mt. Olive goalkeeper super busy, using long stretch passes into the box to attack the net.
All told, the Rams put 14 shots on goal in the game, with 10 coming in the second half, while putting at least another half dozen high or wide during their second half surge. But none made their way past the goalie and between the pipes.
Lawrence was pretty lonely down in his end of the field for most of the second half, however he had to stay on his toes as he was challenged on two breakaways by Mt. Olive. Both were golden scoring chances for the Mauraders, but Lawrence came out aggressively attacking the ball, and made diving saves on both to keep the game close.
“It was an outstanding effort by our kids in the second half, we dominated play and the ball was in our attacking half most of the time,” said Mousis. “We had our chances, we just couldn’t get it into the goal. But we will keep working hard, we have Knolls next, they are on top in our division and we always look forward to playing them tough.”
The Rams record now stands at 3-5, and with eight games left on the schedule there is plenty of time to turn their fortunes around.
?We are slowly and gradually progressing, and I see the level of soccer elevating with each game,” said Mousis. “We are more cohesive and everyone understands what they should be doing, so we are improving and I am very proud of them.”
The Rams next game against Morris Knolls is Thursday Oct. 5, home at 4 p.m.