Controversial Ending To Season

Above, Defenceman Cole Strong dribbled the ball up the field against the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays on Oct. 26. The Shoremen would move on to narrowly defeat the Blue Jays.
Photo by Amanda Boyer

By Derek Stiles
Staff Writer

The men’s soccer team’s season finale was one filled with drama and controversial calls as the Shoremen fell to nationally ranked Dickinson 0-1 to end the season at 8-8-1.

Looking to win their third conference game in the last four played, the Shoremen were at a large disadvantage early on as they were handed two red cards within the first 21 minutes of play. Junior Sam Draper was ejected for a slide tackle in the 15th minute, followed by freshman Dimitri Kaliakin who got his marching orders for arguing with an official.

“We knew they were a good team so our strategy was to deny them the ball,” senior George Gabriel said. “Our plan was to press high up the field when defending and keep the ball by playing simple when we had it. We were doing well at executing that strategy until the referee ruined the game. It’s a lot harder to keep the ball with nine men, and even harder to win it back from them.”

Things went from bad to worse for the Shoremen in the 27th minute when Dickinson was awarded a controversial penalty kick in which they converted. The Shoremen felt the sting, as they went down not only two men but a goal as well.

From that point forward the Shoremen had to sit back and absorb pressure from the Dickinson attack to avoid letting the game get out of hand. Dickinson outshot the Shoremen 27-3 throughout the entire game.

“When we went two men down, we had to stay very compact in order to protect the goal,” Coach Roy Dunshee said. “We needed big performances from our goalkeepers. We did well on both accounts. Our players were committed to work hard to pressure the ball and our keepers bailed us out on several occasions.”

Much was the same in the second half as Washington College played back in their own end, letting Dickinson keep possession. Dickinson would fire off 17 shots in the second half, however junior Lin Robinson kept the Red Devils from increasing their lead.

“We decided to play without forwards for the majority of the second half,” Dunshee said. “We waited until late in the game and then radically changed our shape by adding two forwards. We hoped to catch them on a counter attack and we nearly pulled it off.”

The Shoremen’s counter attacking play led to three chances, all of which were led by junior Matt Wilfong. Wilfong would finish with all of the team’s shots in the match, one of which was punched over the bar by the Dickinson keeper.

“Our second half performance and indeed at the end of the first half was one of courage, pride, passion, and spirit,” Gabriel said. “We had absolutely nothing to play for but each other, and with nine men we did exactly that. A loss is a loss but I’m proud of how the boys dug in when the chips were down and we will take that into next season.”

The Shoremen finished the season with a .500 record for the first time since 2006, matching their win total from that year as well. With only four seniors departing after this season, the team will remain much intact and will look to improve on their record immensely.

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