King’s Court: Webster’s Offensive Woes
The Webster University men’s soccer team won the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament two seasons ago. For the Gorloks to even have a chance at getting to the tournament this year, they have some work to do in the final game of their season.
Webster has one game left in the regular season against Blackburn College on Oct. 29 in Carlinville, Ill. After losing to Westminster 1-0 on Oct. 25, the Gorloks now need outside help to have a shot at getting back into the SLIAC tournament. The offense has played a big part in putting the Gorloks’ backs against the wall.
Sophomore striker Pat McCaffery has been one of Webster’s top scoring threats all season. But last week he sustained a high ankle sprain, and he has missed the past three games. For much of the season, the Gorloks were already struggling to score. Without McCaffery, the team’s offensive woes have been magnified.
Since McCaffery’s injury, the Gorloks have only scored one goal — total — in their last three games. Two of those games resulted in a loss and the other was a tie. It appears unlikely that McCaffery will return for the Blackburn game.
The loss of such a key player can demoralize a team. The question is whether the Gorloks can get past the initial shock and rebound in time to salvage the season. This is where the soccer team’s leadership is being tested.
The best thing the captains can do is to put things into perspective. The team needs to realize that while this is a big loss, it isn’t the end of the season. The Gorloks can still right the ship and get back to the postseason.
But with the loss to Westminster, Webster has handed its fate to a rival school for the time being. Now, the Gorloks not only have to beat Blackburn,. but Blackburn must also lose to Fontbonne University on Oct. 26. If Blackburn defeats Fontbonne, Webster’s final game won’t even matter.
The good thing for the Gorloks is that Blackburn losing to Fontbonne isn’t out of the question by any means. Fontbonne is currently third in the conference and has only lost one conference game. What hurts, however, is the fact that the Gorloks don’t control their own destiny. A team never wants to put its season in the hands of another team. Webster now has to sit by and hope that they can get some help.
Even if Fontbonne does beat Blackburn, Webster will need to find a way to jump-start its offense. The defense has really raised its level of play since McCaffery’s injury. In the last three games, the defense has allowed only one goal in each game. But the offense hasn’t been able to compliment the strong defense.
When the Gorloks play Blackburn, the team will need to do whatever it takes to get things going offensively. The best thing that could happen for Webster is to get an early goal. Struggling on offense for so long has to be causing players to press — it’s human nature. Yet getting an early lead could take some pressure off the offense so it can relax and get back to just playing the game.
The Gorloks will have to find a way to take advantage of every chance because time is running out. The season comes down to this. Webster must find a way to score. The team needs to forget about its struggles and play the Blackburn game like there is no tomorrow. Otherwise, the season will be over before the postseason begins. But this is all relying on Fontbonne to give Webster one more chance, because the Gorloks have given away control of their own destiny.