By John Niswander
Elm Staff Writer
The men’s soccer team opened the week with a 3-0 loss on the road at nationally ranked Haverford. WC closed out the week with a thrilling come from behind 2-1 win on the road at McDaniel. With this win, WC has now won back-to-back games over McDaniel for the first time since 2003.
The Shoremen fell behind early after conceding two first half goals.
“They came out with a lot of energy and definitely put us under pressure which helped them get an early lead,” Dima Kaliakin said.
In the second half, Washington College made some adjustments and were able to apply more pressure to the Fords. Haveford scored from a free kick 35-yards out to put them up 3-0 with roughly 20 minutes to play. Unfortunately for WC, the Shoremen never saw their pressure rewarded with a goal and were shut out for the fourth time this season.
“We did not adjust well to their field or their style. In the second half we played much better. They scored a spectacular free kick against the run of play that sort of sealed it for them,” Coach Roy Dunshee said. “I was pleased with how we adjusted to the game but we will need to be better to compete with top teams. I think Haverford are the best team we’ve faced.”
After the first half of play, WC trailed 1-0 despite outshooting McDaniel 9-3.
“We were sluggish in the first half.” Coach Dunshee said.
In the second half, the Shoremen made their adjustments and came out hungrier and more focused.
“We set ourselves straight in the second half and really dominated possession. We utilized the full width of the field.” Dunshee said.
Pressure from WC in thesecond half set them up to score the tying and eventually game winning goal in the final minute of regulation.
“We pressured McDaniel very well and didn’t let them out of their end. All of the pressure eventually created the opportunities we needed to score the two goals,” Kaliakin said.
WC’s first goal came off of a corner kick assist from Kaliakin when Michael Holowesko was able to connect on the cross into the box and notch his first goal of the season with 20 minutes to play.
“It took a great serve from Dimitri Kaliakin and a brave header from Michael Holowesko to get us level,” Dunshee said.
The game had the feeling of overtime until in the final minute a costly mistake by the McDaniel goalkeeper rewarded WC a free kick right at the top of the box.
“The free kick resulted from the goalkeeper releasing the ball from his hand for a punt after he had gone outside the penalty area. This is considered a handball and a free kick was awarded right at the top of the box. It took a piece of magic from Brian Wilkinson to grab the win,” Dunshee said.
Wilkinson converted the direct free kick 20-yards out to give WC the road win and three points in the conference standings. This was the second time this season that WC won a conference game on a game winning free kick.
“We know we can be dangerous on any set piece we just need to focus and execute so that we convert more and more set pieces as the season goes on,” Kaliakin said.
WC will be back at home next week hosting Muhlenberg under the lights Saturday night after three consecutive conference road games. The game will be a ‘blackout’ game and will start at 7 p.m.
“We are focused and we know we still have a lot to prove in this league,” freshman Kyle Gaeffke said.