An early goal and superb defense helped the men’s soccer team pick up their first victory of the season in a 3-0 shutout over NYU-Polytechnic at Edith Robb Dixon Field on Saturday, Sept. 8.
The Cavaliers had started the season 0-3 with losses to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Union College and No. 24 Rutgers-Camden. They played to a hard-fought 1-1 tie with Wesley College on Friday, Sept. 7.
The Cavs wasted no time in making a mark on this game, as junior back Brett Lockbaum took a pass from freshman forward Boomer Steigelman and scored just 41 seconds into the game.
“We’ve been talking about getting leads in games and not having to come back,” Lockbaum said. “A quick lead is big.”
That lead held up into the half, but the Cavaliers were just getting started.
In the 56th minute, sophomore midfielder George Lambritsios created some open space and beat NYU-Poly goalkeeper Rishi Sarkar with a low shot. Again, Steigelman picked up an assist, his second of the game, on Lambritsios’ first of the season.
“It was a big goal,” Lambritsios said. “You can never be positive with a 1-0 lead.”
NYU-Poly didn’t manage many quality scoring chances thanks to stellar defense from the Cavaliers. But the Blue Jays did test junior goalkeeper Eric Nowicki with a high, rising shot in the 69th minute. Nowicki was able to dive across the goalmouth and make the save.
That was the only credited shot on goal for the Blue Jays. But they did manage two more scoring chances in the second half deep in the box. Cabrini’s defense remained calm and cleared the ball out of danger both times.
“The defense stepped up,” Lambritsios said. “Hopefully they keep it up. As long as we have zero on the opposite side of the score, they can’t beat us.”
“They’ve been such a strong core for us. It’s been tremendous,” first-year head coach Rob Dallas said. “The way that we played today is the way I expect them to play.”
The Cavaliers iced the game in the 87th minute with an own goal by NYU-Poly. They were able to hold the Blue Jays off the board in the final three minutes to complete the shutout. It was the first of the season and fifth in the career for Nowicki.
The Cavaliers hit the road for their next few games. The first is against DeSales University on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 4 p.m.
The 3-0 win also marked the first win for Dallas. As special as it was for him, it was more important for his team.
“Getting the monkey off our back was big,” Dallas said. “What we talked about was the positive momentum going forward. I do have faith that we’re going to keep this momentum rolling into our next few games.”