By Brian Klose
Elm Staff Writer
This past Friday, Washington College started off their season on a high note with a comfortable 3-1 win over visiting Gwynedd Mercy. Sophomore forward Chris Lewandowski led the team with two goals, including a penalty kick late in the second half to put away the victory.
The Shoremen began their barrage of 21 total shots almost immediately with a shot from senior captain Matt Wilfong within the first minute of play. Wilfong got a second shot in the 11th minute before sophomore Drew Thompson scored the first goal of the season in the 12th minute. Thompson managed to take advantage of a loose ball at the top of the box to open up an early 1-0 lead. WC had a chance to extend the lead to 2-0 when a header from senior forward Joseph Fili came a little too high and connected with the crossbar.
Sophomore Cole Strong received the first yellow card of the game in the 22nd minute and it was costly, as Gwynedd’s Rich Mychack earned and scored a penalty kick to even the score 1-1.
Less than three minutes later, however, Lewandowski, who substituted in for Fili before the WC yellow card, scored off of a loose ball in front of the Gwynedd keeper. The Shoremen reclaimed the lead that they would hold on to for the rest of the match. WC entered halftime with a 2-1 lead.
The second period saw much of the same strong defensive performance. The offense managed to tone down their tempo, but managed to create numerous scoring opportunities. Of WC’s 21 shots, 11 came in the second half. Gwynedd picked up more offensive opportunities than in the 1st period, but only managed to get off two shots, four in the game total.
WC cemented their victory when Lewandowski cashed in a penalty kick in the 87th minute and extended the lead to the eventual final score of 3-1.
The match was the first of the many home games that will be played on the Bermuda grass fields this season due to the water damages to Kibler Field in mid-August. After hours of practice on the field during preseason, the team was determined to secure the victory.
“We’ve worked really hard to improve and meet our goal,” junior goalkeeper David Myers said. “Coach is just pushing us to fight every day with our goal in mind, which is a conference championship.”
Myers also commented on the value of a strong senior presence this season, with 11 returning to the roster.
“We have a lot of experience and leadership,” Myers said. “I’m a junior, and I still look up to the guys one year ahead of me.”
One aspect of play focused on during practice was offensive possession, and the team’s work paid off immediately. WC virtually dominated Gwynedd in possession time, especially during the first period. WC’s defense played exceptionally well, as Gwynedd struggled to advance past the midfield line for much of the first period.
All around, WC looked solid in their home opener. Everyone fought hard for possession and passed the ball with precision the entire 90 minutes. Head Coach Roy Dunshee and his men have much to look forward to this season, especially as they enter a tough Centennial Conference schedule in late September.
The starting 11 for the Shoremen included sophomores Jon Wendeborn, Brian Wilkinson, Christian Cooke, Derek Stiles, Strong, Thompson and seniors Zach Stocksdale, Keegan Fisher, Daniel Gosscup, Wilfong, and Fili.
Last fall, the team finished their season with an 8-8-1 record, their best record in a decade. Dunshee, now entering his third season at the helm, got a taste success and a preview of the good things to come. After a long offseason of training, the Shoremen are ready to make a statement and fulfill their championship goals.
WC gets back into action against visiting St. Mary’s College of Maryland on Sep. 3 for their second of four straight home games.