By Josh Niswander
Elm Staff Writer
The Shoremen aim to start strong this season after all of last year’s successes. Last year, Head Coach Roy Dunshee’s team concluded their most successful season since 2000, finishing with a record of 10-7-2. The team qualified for the Centennial Conference Tournament for the first time in school history, after securing the fourth seed, with a conference record of 5-2-2. This year, the team will aim to build off of those successes and achieve even more.
“Coming off of our season last year, we have set some big goals. We had a taste of the conference tournament last year, and we definitely want to take the steps toward winning the tournament and more,” said Michael Holowesko, senior captain and defender.
Holowesko has 11 career goals. He was named to both the 2016 All-Centennial Conference second team, and the 2016 Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll.
Washington College soccer fans can expect the team to look quite younger this season after graduating eight seniors.
“Our team had great role models last year and learned many important lessons about how to conduct themselves to prepare for success. But, we are short on game experience and we will have to grow up quickly if we are to maintain the high standard set last season,” Dunshee said.
Recent graduate Dimitri Kaliakin will continue to assist the men’s soccer team, although he will do so this year as an assistant coach.
“Having Dima on our coaching staff will be a huge advantage as the guys respect him and know that he has experienced success. He has adapted quickly to his role as a coach and we expect more great things from him,” Dunshee said.
Kaliakin became the school’s all-time leader in career assists last year, finishing his career with 32 for the Shoremen.
“I definitely miss being a player, but it is great that I am able to be around the team as we prepare for another season,” Kaliakin said.
The team has been preparing for the upcoming season by traveling to Canada.
“We graduated a lot of important players last year and we needed an extended preseason to get our younger players ready for the rigors of the Centennial Conference,” Dunshee said.
They traveled to Niagara, Ontario, trained for several days, and played a match against Niagara College.
“They were worthy opponents and gave us a very good game,” Dunshee said. “We ate really well thanks to our dear friend Alex Torres, who traveled with us and is a great chef. And we had some laughs too.”
Holowesko said he enjoyed the preseason trip.
“It gave the returning guys the opportunity to get back into the swing of things, get touches on the ball, and spend time with each other,” he said.
WC aims to start strong at the season opener on Sept. 1 at Stevenson at 4:30 p.m.
“Right now we are focused on playing our way into fitness as well as sorting out who will be playing key roles for the team this year,” Kaliakin said.