By CHRISTIAN ZAPATERO
On Sept. 22, 2012, the men’s soccer team traveled to the SU Soccer Complex (Salisbury, Maryland) to battle the Salisbury Sea Gulls. This particular matchup was one of special importance because it was the first Capital Athletic Conference opponent the men’s soccer team faced. 225 spectators were in attendance to watch Salisbury University improve their conference record to 1-0-1 and their overall record to 6-1-1. The University of Mary Washington, on the other hand, dropped to an even 4-4.
From the beginning of the game, the Eagles’ plan of attack was to push the ball wide, pulling the Salisbury players toward the edges of the pitch and then crossing it back into the middle of the field. This created space for attackers to push the ball towards the Salisbury goal. They were aggressive from the very beginning, pressuring the opposing team, drawing them back to their third of the pitch, putting an emphasis on defense, rather than attacking the Eagles defenders.
This game plan went well until about the 34th minute, when Salisbury defender Chase Humphrey set up for a free kick from the left side of the pitch. Instead of doing a direct free kick and putting a shot attempt on goal, he passed it into the box, setting midfielder Jake Perry up for his third goal of the season. He directed the ball to his lead foot, and Jake grounded it into the lower right corner of the goal past goalkeeper Tyler Back.
Even though the Eagles were down 1-0 going into the second half, they were able to keep possession to about 50-50 throughout the first half. The second half would be a different story.
UMW forward Reuben George noticed from the sidelines a huge difference in the stature of the two teams. “Our size, compared to theirs, was our disadvantage,” George said.
The Sea Gulls weren’t able to score as quickly coming out of half-time as previous opponents of UMW were able to, but their size didn’t go unrewarded. In the 75th minute, Salisbury midfielder Pat Callahan crossed the ball into the box and forward Matt Greene redirected the ball into the goal, hitting the lower right corner of the goal again as they had previously with their first goal.
When asked how well his team executed the game plan that was given before the game, freshman central defensive midfielder Henok Yohannes said, “We did execute the game plan, [we] just weren’t able to find an end product.”
Mary Washington was outshot 15-8. With only one shot on net, Salisbury goalkeeper John Vnenchak only had to make one save in comparison to the nine shots on goal that Back had to face.
Mary Washington led Salisbury in corner kicks, 7-5, as well as fouls,14 compared to Salisbury’s 12. UMW midfielders Oscar Ismail and Jonathan Gamarra were both booked for yellow cards in the 19th and 72nd minute, respectively.
This loss dropped the Mary Washington Eagles to 4-4-0 on the season, with them losing 3 in a row, and four out of their last five contests. It is a very different story when compared to the one where they started the season off 3-0-0.
Mary Washington defeated N.C. Wesley 3-2 in an overtime thriller last night. Goals came from juniors Kevin Murphy, David Heller and Tommy Sangbouasy.
The team gets back in action on Saturday at Marymount.