The University of Mary Washington men’s soccer team was defeated for the first time this season when they lost to Messiah College. Messiah, ranked 17th for Division III schools, defeated the Eagles 4-1 in Mechanicsburg, Pa. on Saturday.
Messiah had control of the game from the beginning. The Falcons had ten shots at the 20-minute mark, many coming from corner kicks. UMW did their best to keep the ball out of the net.
Sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Back had three saves in the duration, more than he has had all season. At the 24-minute mark, on another corner kick. the Falcons Brian Ramirez struck the ball over to the right side of the box, forward Jack Thompson fought for position and was able to put his head down on it. The Eagles were behind for the first time this season.
They adjusted and rested their spent starters. Senior Omar Ismail and sophomore Torre Swope came into the game. Despite the fresh legs, the Eagles weren’t able to keep the ball from the Falcons. Shots kept being fired. Back handled the pressure well and added three saves to his total. It was evident that the Eagles were becoming frustrated. They committed three fouls, one of which received a yellow card.
They got the ball and they started to attack, but were called offside twice.
The frustration continued to grow in the 44th minute. Back handled a Messiah advance and went to clear the ball. Messiah midfielder Tyler Rowe jumped to deflect his clearance. It bounced off of him and into the goal.
The Eagles went into the locker room down 2-0.
The Eagles showed resilience at the beginning of the second half. They responded to all Messiah had given them and things finally began to click. Junior Nick Shepherd took the ball to the top corner of the box. He pinged the ball with his left foot and hit the left side of the goal. All of a sudden, the team had trimmed the deficit to just one.
Unfortunately, Messiah responded as well, a mere three minutes later. Messiah junior Sheldon Myer crossed from the right flank and sophomore Jeremy Payne was there to kick it into the left side of the goal.
The score was 3-1.
The Eagles, instead of getting frustrated, rose to the occasion. They battled Messiah in a physical second half. Shots came from junior Tommy Sangbouasy, senior Matt Alter and Ismail, all of which were off the mark.
The score remained the same for 35 minutes. UMW committed a foul just outside of the penalty box, resulting in a free kick. Mary Washington formed a human wall as Back barked out commands. Former Messiah goal scorer Jack Thompson stepped up. He struck the ball with his right foot, it crossed the width of field and eventually found the net. The team had found their boiling point. They played out the remainder of the game. Shots from Nick Shepherd were blocked and called offsides twice.
The whistles blew and the team was in for a long trip back to Virginia. They took on Catholic University last night and were victorious with a score of 3-0. Shepherd scored once and freshman Patrick Kelly added two other goals. The win brings the team to a record of 4-1. The team continues their strong out-of-conference schedule as they go to New Jersey to take on Montclair State University this Saturday.