Balance, depth have keyed Goucher's early spurt

Gophers' 8-1 record relying on more weapons on offense, growth of younger players

March 20, 2012|By Edward Lee

Goucher is off to an 8-1 start, enjoying a five-game winning streak that includes a 7-6 overtime win against previously unbeaten Mary Washington last Wednesday.

The senior attack duo of Kyle Boncaro (26 goals and 16 assists) and Rory Averett (28, 8) have powered the offense, but starting midfielders Matt Lynch (14, 15), Pierce Ingram (10, 1) and Zach Fratella (8, 3) are third, tied for fourth and tied for fourth in points, respectively.

That balance has been critical, according to coach Kyle Hannan.

“I still feel like even though the attack is scoring a lot of our points, at the point of our attack, it’s very balanced,” he said Monday. “The way we play, we attack a lot with the midfield, which means the attack profits from that. They end up finishing the plays that the midfield starts. So I feel like we’re a little deeper than we’ve been in the past because we have two offensive midfields, and we’re able to play four attackmen regularly. The depth there and the balance has helped us to this point.”

Using more players has also been a key. There were times when Hannan was reluctant to use a second midfield due to ineffectiveness, but he is more confident about mixing and matching from a group that includes freshmen Sam Woodruff (2, 7) and Alex Malinowski (4, 2), junior John Curry (5, 0) and sophomore George Skelos (4, 1).

The defense has also gotten a boost from freshman long-stick midfielder Ethan Haddaway (12 groundballs and six caused turnovers) and freshman defenseman Danny Pufnock (3, 5).

“We’ve found a few more players that are playing really well and that we’re able to insert into different situations,” Hannan said. “So we’re playing a few more guys, a few younger players. … That’s added to our depth, being able to play those guys more and more.”

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