SCRANTON, Pa. — Just three days after a tight defeat at the hands of Catholic, Goucher was forced to make the long trip up to Scranton to play a Royal squad which played a key hand in keeping the Gophers out of the Landmark postseason tournament last fall and which had yet to lose a conference match in 2014.
Goucher proved to be more than up to the challenge, as goals in each half from Tate Becker (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch) and Luis Gomes (Bushkill, Pa./East Stroudsburg North) lifted the Gophers to a satisfying 2-0 road victory.
"What a tremendous performance by the guys today," head coach Bryan Laut commented. "They did exactly what we asked them to do and were properly rewarded for their effort. This is an important three points against a really good Scranton team."
The Goucher defense put in its typically strong showing, holding Scranton (9-3-1, 3-1 Landmark) to only two shots on goal, both of which were stopped by Nicholas Stolarz (Clark, N.J./Arthur L. Johnson) in the opening 17 minutes of play. The Gophers (6-5, 2-2 Landmark) recorded their fourth clean sheet of the season.
Becker wasted little time in giving the backline a lead to protect. After a long throw into the box, the ball eventually bounced out to the sophomore midfielder, and he drilled a low shot into the corner from 20 yards out to give Goucher a 1-0 advantage 8:09 into the first half.
The goal was Becker's first of the season. His strike came only a minute and a half after Marco Grotti (Milmay, N.J./Millville) just missed out an opener when his shot rang off the post.
The Gophers ended the opening 45 minutes with a 6-2 edge in shots. Goucher also fired off the first three attempts after the intermission, and by the time Scranton's Gavin Coutts directed an effort wide in the 67th minute, the Royals had gone over 45 minutes without a shot attempt.
Gomes put things away with under 13 minutes remaining on the clock. The scoring sequence began with a diving stop from Scranton goalie Eric Hintz on an attempt from Grotti. The ball then bounced to Jeremy Hardy (Brooklyn, N.Y./The Beacon School), who had a shot blocked by the Royal defense. No one, though, could prevent Gomes from scooping the ball over the backline and into the back of the net five yards away from goal on the right side.
Scranton managed just one more shot, and that came with 17 seconds remaining. The Gophers avenged a 2-1 double overtime defeat at Beldon Field last season, and picked up their second victory over the Royals in the ninth career meeting between the two teams.
Goucher now stands at six points in the conference, placing them sixth in the overall standings. The Gophers, however, have a game in hand on three of the five teams currently above them. They will have a prime opportunity to improve their position next Saturday, when fifth-place Drew visits Beldon Field for a 1 p.m. matchup.