By Pat Mariboe
After an initial 0-4 record, the Washington College men’s soccer team was looking to make amends for their slow start to the season.
The Shoremen were handed their first Centennial Conference loss in a 3-0 defeat to Gettysburg, but secured a highly contested 1-0 win on the road against Ursinus.
“We had a good performance against a very scrappy Ursinus team,” said Head Coach Roy Dunshee. “They made things very difficult for us, but we were able to keep them out of our end for the most part. We didn’t play beautiful soccer but credit to the Bears for good defending.”
Dunshee has high expectations this year after last season’s memorable and historic campaign. Coming off the decisive win against Ursinus, the Shoremen faced off against ranked Johns Hopkins, but unfortunately couldn’t spar with the Blue Jays in a 2-1 finish.
“The Hopkins team was very good,” Dunshee said. “They are currently No. 3 in one ranking and No. 4 in another. We played a very disciplined game but came up on the short end of a 2-1 finish. We never stopped fighting and I was proud of our effort.”
One of the standout performers from last season, junior goalkeeper Josh Samuels, shared his thoughts on the huge win over Ursinus and his team’s performance against Johns Hopkins.
“The game against Ursinus was a must-needed Conference win, and the team came out and performed,” he said. “We knew it would be a battle for all 90 minutes, and everyone contributed. Our experienced guys held strong and our younger guys came on and sealed it up for our first shutout of the season. It was a team effort all the way. After Ursinus, we knew Johns Hopkins was going to be tough. Everyone knew this and the organization was great as we competed until the end. There are always things that we can work on, but our late goal to make it 2-1 shows the determination this team has to go far.”
The team certainly faced a strange transition period after last season, graduating a trio of prolific seniors and attacking threats in Brian Wilkinson, Dmitri Kaliakin, and Chris Lewandowski.
“We are a young team,” Dunshee said. “We are using a lot of players and growing with each contest. We have a difficult test against McDaniel who are having a very good year and are good at home. But we feel confident and the team spirit is fantastic. We are looking forward to a great game.”
In last season’s outing against the McDaniel Green Terror, the Shoremen capped off a momentous 2-1 road victory thanks to a late free kick goal by Wilkinson. Samuels is looking for similar success this time around.
“Everyone is looking forward to our game against McDaniel,” Samuels said. “It is another must-needed conference win for us. They are a good team and we know they are out for revenge after beating them last year. We are going to use our strengths to keep the ball and put them under pressure with attack after attack.”
The Shoremen suffered a 1-0 loss to the Green Terror off a second half goal late into the contest. The season is still young and they hope to be able to achieve Centennial Conference success and show that last season was no fluke.
“This year our biggest improvement is our ability to keep and move the ball,” Samuels said. “Our midfield especially is full of extremely solid hardworking guys. This allows us to build sustained attacks and ware our opposition down. This also comes from the team’s depth. Everyone on this team can compete, and when we sub, the level of play does not drop. We are able to put other teams under constant pressure.”