Last Saturday, Oct. 16, the University of Mary Washington men’s soccer team played CAC conference competitor Salisbury University on the Sea Gulls home field in Maryland. The Eagles suffered a 3-0 loss to the host Salisbury squad, to fall to 7-4-2 overall and 2-2-1 in conference play.
Weather conditions at the game were described by players as unfavorable, with temperatures in the low 60s and winds reaching up to 29 miles per hour.
In the first half of the game, neither team was able to convert their opportunities into successful shots as both defenses stood strong.
However, the UMW defense was not able to hold the Salisbury offense at bay in the second half, as the Sea Gulls scored three goals following intermission. Salisbury juior midfielder Stafford Chipungu broke the scoreless tie with his breakaway goal in the 56th minute. Sea Gulls senior forward Mike Napolitano extended his team’s lead with his goal off a penalty kick in the 61st minute. Salisbury tacked on another goal in the 83rd minute, when senior defender Justin Lambert soared a corner kick into the muck of players and junior forward Ian Wilson headed home for the game’s final goal.
Over the course of the game, UMW seniors Ryan Taibl, T.L. Tutor and junior Robby Davis had the best chances to put UMW on the board but were not successful in putting the ball into the net. In addition, the Eagles junior goal keeper Hunter Wootten had six saves in the contest.
“We had a lot of the right plays and good ideas, but the execution wasn’t as good as it needs to be. We had a couple chances, and we just couldn’t put them away,” junior Patch Owen said.
The loss this past Saturday continued a rough run for the men’s soccer team. After a strong start to the season, the Eagles are now 0-3-1 in their last four games. The team now looks to make improvements and changes in their mind-set going forward, knowing that they must improve before the CAC Tournament starts on Oct. 31.
“We have a strong core of players, and we have shown the ability to score when needed, we just haven’t done it in a while,” Owen said. “We needed to work on our confidence in the back and had a hard time swinging the ball around the defense, where Salisbury took advantage.”
The men’s team is looking to end this recent skid and defeat CAC foes Stevenson University and Hood College on Friday and Saturday.
The men are optimistic for their upcoming contests, especially since Saturday’s game against Hood is Mary Washington’s Homecoming game. The soccer team hopes to have great support from the student body at the pivotal Homecoming game.
The men’s soccer team currently sits in third place in the CAC standings behind Salisbury and York College of Pennsylvania.