By Taylor Konyk
The day started with a certain type of anxiety that only an 11-year losing streak can explain. To the students, this was a biannual event held smack-dab in the middle of an inconvenient week. To the players, this was the moment they had been working to perfect all season long. To the seniors, this was their last War. And had the Shoremen not mounted an incredible fourth quarter comeback under the direction of Coach Jeff Shirk, all of Washington College would have been disappointed yet another year.
Though the win over Salisbury isn’t “news” per se, the feeling of triumph is lingering on. And why shouldn’t it? Entire generations have missed what it feels like to be on the winning side of War on the Shore. Nearly three classes have passed through WC without walking away from Kibler Field disappointed.
The culture behind War too has changed. Losing the biggest game of the season—or the year for that matter—11 years in a row has disillusioned many. Nothing will ever make War any less of a festival, but winning grants legitimacy to the madness.
The Shoremen came together for the biggest event in their game, and our year, and fought their way to a win that will not soon be forgotten. The game could have easily extended the drought—considering the Seagulls scored five goals combined in the second and third quarter to WC’s one.
Headed into the fourth quarter—down by one—the Shoremen had their work cut out for them.
Senior Zach Fuller commented after the game, “We made the big plays when it counted. Our team defense was clicking all night and having Ted in cage making some of the unbelievable saves that he did really allowed us to play with complete confidence and know that if any one person made a mistake the rest of the team was there to bail them out.”
No one man made the difference during the game. Sophomore Grant Hughes was the only Shoremen to have a multi-goal night (2). Of the seven goals scored, six Shoremen found the score sheet.
Headed into the fourth, Fuller felt confident in his defense. “We have always found a way to win close games this season and I knew that if we could make a few stops the offense would do the rest. We just took it one play at a time and didn’t hold anything back until the very end.,” he said.
“Heading into the fourth quarter we kept stressing to the guys to concentrate on making the next play. We wanted to keep them focused on battling back one play at a time instead of feeling overwhelmed being down by four goals. Once the ball got rolling everyone’s attitude on the sideline was that we are going to be hard to stop as long as we get the next play,” said Coach Shirk on heading into the fourth quarter.
The defense played immaculate keeping the Seagulls clean off the board in the fourth. The offense played selflessly, dishing the ball off to anyone with a clear shot.
With close to a minute left in the game—now tied at six—Junior Hunter Nowicki took a pass from Sid Looney. It wasn’t a perfect play, it wasn’t pretty either. Instead, Nowicki juggled the pass and nearly lost possession. But in a war of wills, he out worked his defender—scooping the failed pass, driving the lane, and taking a shot.
His would be the game winning goal, and for an entire minute the entire WC community roared while playing with the idea that they would finally own the day.
As minutes tend to do, it expired, and Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium (including the “Hill”) exploded into madness.
Finally, not since 2002 had the Shoremen brought home the Charles B. Clark Cup to Chestertown.
“Winning the game and holding up the cup was the best moment of my lacrosse career and having it happen at home in my senior season made it that much more special. Going from a four win team my freshmen year to what we are now is a true testament to how hard we have all worked,” said Fuller.
“It was a great game and a great day for WAC,” said goalie Ted DiSalvo after the game.
Finally, the mastermind behind the win, Coach Shirk commented on the coveted trophy. “Bringing the Charles B. Clark Cup to Chestertown is a big deal… The tradition of pride at WAC is second to none and it is pretty special that we had an opportunity to add to that pride by re-claiming the Charles B. Clark Cup.”
The win will not easily be forgotten—after all, who could forget the time we had War on Wednesday?