By Brian Klose
After the demoralizing 9-1 loss to Centennial Conference rival Dickinson College, the worst performance against a Division III program in over half a century, injury-plagued Washington College men’s lacrosse was handed a brutal defeat against visiting Eastern Shore rival No. 10 Salisbury. The Annual “War on the Shore” ended in a 23-5 Seagulls victory over the Shoremen to claim the Charles B. Clark Cup, virtually wiping away any magic left from WC’s historic 2014 season and the classic 7-6 win against the Gulls in 2013. The loss, their third straight, dropped the Shoremen to 5-8 overall and improved Salisbury to 13-4.
Since the addition of the Cup in 2004, the Seagulls have dominated the Shoremen, winning now 11 of 12 matchups. WC’s only victory in the series against SU came during the 2013 season. The memorable game concluded with a last-minute go-ahead goal from 2014’s MVP Hunter Nowicki, earning WC’s first win against the Gulls since 2002 and their first home win since 1990. The Shoremen went into the 2014 “War on the Shore” as defending Cup champs but fell 12-7 at Salisbury and again in the NCAA National Championship Semifinals 13-8.
This year, WC had a much more daunting task than in previous seasons. A number of impact players, including senior midfielder Grant Hughes and junior midfielder Sid Looney, were unable to participate due to injuries. Looney, this season’s third-top scorer, scored two goals and earned five total points against the Seagulls last season.
The game began with four goals in the first five minutes by Salisbury, leaving the Shoremen in an early hole. Sophomore midfielder Matt Allen halted SU’s momentum, dodging past a defender and netting a left-handed rip on the run. Freshman attackman Tyler Powers was credited with the assist. Salisbury answered with seven seconds remaining in the first quarter and entered the second quarter with a 5-1 lead.
SU extended their lead one minute into the second quarter before senior attackman Stephen Luck scored his team-leading 23rd goal of the season, leaving the Shoremen at a 6-2 deficit. Luck’s score would be WC’s final goal before an eight-goal barrage by the Seagulls. With the score at 14-2 mid-way into the third quarter, Powers was able to stop the bleeding on a man-up goal with 25 seconds remaining. The fourth quarter was all Salisbury, regardless of their second and third string substitutions. Besides a second goal from Allen and a quick goal from senior faceoff specialist Michael Trapp, the Shoremen allowed nine more goals en route to the eventual 23-5 loss.
One bright spot for the Shoremen came from sophomore faceoff specialist and Loyola University transfer Kyle Gangemi, who won nine of 13 faceoff attempts.
While the Shoremen will not have an opportunity to finish the regular season above .500, there are still chances to earn berths in the Centennial Conference and NCAA tournaments. WC is currently fourth in the Centennial standings with a 4-2 conference record. WC is guaranteed a spot in the Centennial Conference tournament if they win their final two regular season games against conference rivals Swarthmore and undefeated No. 2 Gettysburg. Earning a conference championship would guarantee an automatic NCAA tournament berth.
The Shoremen return to action on April 22 as they travel up to Swarthmore for a conference matchup. WC wraps up the regular season on April 25 against Gettysburg.