Soccer Continues Playoff Push

By John Niswander
Elm Staff Writer

Washington College opened the week with a 1-0 non-conference win over visiting Goucher this past Tuesday.
One goal was all WC needed to secure the victory. The lone goal came around 30 minutes into the game when a corner kick by Dima Kaliakin was headed into the upper left corner by junior Michael Holowesko.
“Big Mike’s goal was a great header off of my corner and was a big goal giving us the early lead,” Kaliakin said. “The target for every one of my corners is Mike because of his height and great heading ability,” he said.
All nine of Holowesko’s career goals have been assisted by Kaliakin.
“Dima and Big Mike have rediscovered their connection and have linked up for three goals recently. We hope that continues,” Coach Roy Dunshee said.
To close out the week, WC rallied for a dramatic overtime victory by a score of 3-2 over visiting Ursinus. WC honored their eight seniors prior to the game for Senior Day. WC recognizes senior day on the last weekend home game of the season.
Ursinus jumped on the Shoremen early by scoring the first two goals of the game.
“After conceding the second goal our attitude was just to keep our heads up and play through it. We knew this was going to be a tough game,” Griffin Bull said.
Bull responded to help his team trim the deficit in the half just two minutes after falling behind by two scores.
“The play was a free kick outside the area and I was able to see that the goalkeeper was off his line and I hit a lob shot. I was fortunate to have it hit the crossbar and go in.” Bull said.
WC trailed 1-2 at halftime but knew they were generating enough chances and hoped the Ursinus goalie would not be able to maintain his high level of play for another half.
“Their goalkeeper was fantastic and kept them in it,” Dunshee said. “But we kept grinding,” He said.
In the 59th minute it appeared WC’s grinding would rewarded with another goal to tie the score as senior  Brian Wilkinson had a breakaway chance. However, the Ursinus goalkeeper was able to come out to meet Wilkinson and stop the shot.
With the game winding down to the last minute of regulation and WC trailing 1-2, the crowd at Roy Kirby, Jr. Stadium were on the edge of their seats. Kyle Gaeffke was able to tie the game to the delight of the home crowd after Wilkinson’s shot rebounded out and he was there to finish the play by putting the ball in the lower left corner.
“The keeper saved Wilkinson’s shot, and then the ball fell to the top of the box. I just knew where the ball was going in case of a save and got there in time to finish,” Gaeffke said.
WC rode the momentum they gathered in the last minute of regulation into the first overtime period. With just under two minutes to go in the extra period, Kaliakin sent a free kick into the box that Chris Lewandowski was able to head into the goal from eight yards out to seal the victory for the Shoremen.
“I was really happy for our seniors. They all played well and gave everything,” Dunshee said. “Our recent run of form is down to our senior group playing really well and executing on set pieces,” He said.
It was fitting that two of WC’s seniors were able to clinch the game winner for the team in overtime.
“The OT winner was Kaliakin to Lewandowski. A great serve by Dima, and a big time header by Lew,” Dunshee said.
With an assist in both this week’s games, Kaliakin is now just one assist back from tying the school record for career assists.
“I have been aware that I’m close to tying the record for assists, but obviously wins and making the playoffs is much more important,” Kaliakin said.
WC has now completely turned their season around after starting 1-4. They are 6-1-1 in their last eight games and currently sit at third place in the conference standings.
“Even when we were 1-4 we always felt that we were a good team but we were just getting unlucky. The past several games we have finally started to score goals consistently and this has raised our confidence level and lead to wins,” Kaliakin said.
The boys are happy with how they have turned their season around, but know there is still plenty of work ahead of them.
“We are feeling good about ourselves. We know that we still have three conference games left to play and we still have a lot of work ahead of us. We want to end our regular season games strong,” Gaeffke said.
WC will play two road games this week. The first game is at Catholic rounding out non-conference play on the 19th. Then they will be at Gettysburg Saturday in a crucial battle between two Centennial Conference teams making a push for the playoffs.

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