By Brian Klose
Elm Staff Writer
After a tough week on the road and at home, the Washington College men’s soccer team dropped two consecutive games against No.23 Salisbury (5-0-1) and Centennial Conference rival Dickinson (5-2). The losses snapped the Shoremen’s three-game winning streak and put them 0-1 in the conference and 4-3 overall.
Both opponents have been especially problematic for WC in the past. WC has lost seven straight matchups against Salisbury and Dickinson dating back to 2007, last beating Dickinson in the 2006 season. The Shoremen haven’t won their Centennial Conference opener since 2008, where they beat Johns Hopkins 1-0. And with nine out of the 10 teams posting winning records, the conference is looking as strong as ever, and WC will have a tough road ahead of them.
The Shoremen began their week coming off a third-straight win, and were ready to carry their momentum against their Eastern Shore rival Salisbury for the soccer edition of War on the Shore. WC suffered a tough 0-2 defeat at home last season, and looked to avenge the loss on their turf.
The first half was a showcase of two solid defenses. Senior goalkeeper Lin Robinson started for WC and led the defense for the first fourty-five minutes of the game. Robinson recorded a shutout for the half and made zero saves.
Junior goalkeeper David Meyers relieved Robinson at the start of the second half. Meyers tallied a save, but in the 49th minute, Salisbury forward Matt Greene scored the game’s only goal in transition, giving the Seagulls a 1-0 lead.
Senior forward Joseph Fili created two scoring opportunities for Washington with shots on goal in the 8th and 54th minute. Salisbury goalkeeper, Drew Staedeli, saved both shots.
While both offenses played fairly well, with Salisbury holding a slim 9-8 advantage in shots, the Seagulls claimed a serious advantage in corner kicks (12-3).
The loss gave WC a good idea of what needed improvement heading into their conference the following Saturday.
The Red Devils let loose on the Shoremen early in the match, scoring their first goal after just three minutes from the opening whistle after a free kick connected with Dickinson’s Drew Carneal. Three minutes later, a Dickinson strengthened their lead to 2-0 when a header made its way to Jonathan Harper in front of the goal.
In the 11th minute, sophomore midfielder Drew Thompson got Washington on the board with an impressive shot from 25 yards out, assisted by senior midfielder and co-captain Matt Wilfong. From that point on, WC controlled much of the remainder of the first half, but headed into halftime losing to Dickinson 2-1.
The Shoremen found themselves reeling early in the second half when Dickinson scored in the 54th minute. Washington College would not answer the Dickinson goal until the 85th minute as sophomore forward Brian Wilkinson scored his second goal of the season from 25 yards out. The goal would be WC’s last, and the game ended with a final score: Dickinson 3, Washington College 2.
Sophomore goalkeeper Jon Wendeborn made the start for Washington College, and was relieved by Robinson in the second half after allowing the two first half goals and making no saves. Robinson made a single save.
Head Coach Roy Dunshee said the team must learn quickly from these two losses against top opponents.
“I always say that if you don’t learn something from a set back, then you lose twice,” Dunshee said. “We learned from our two narrow losses to top 20 teams that we can’t afford to make defensive mistakes. One or two moments without concentration can quickly be punished against top teams. We also learned that we are good enough to compete with the best teams in our conference, which means the best teams in the country. And we learned that we should expect to win these games.”
The Shoremen look to reclaim their momentum and break their losing streak on the road against Centennial Conference opponent Franklin and Marshall. F&M are currently ranked No.6 in the country with an overall record of 6-0-1, while only allowing three goals in their first seven matches. WC hopes to pull the upset and hand the Diplomats their first loss of the season.