By REGIE GUOBADIA
Against the Spartans of York College of Pa., the Mary Washington Eagles, supported by a crowd of 1,500 students, faculty and alumni, were unable to translate the energy support into a victory. Their undefeated run of six games was finally brought to a disappointing end on Homecoming weekend.
The Eagles started off on their back foot for the opening 15 minutes, as the Spartans started off with much energy and purpose, clearly taking the game to the Eagles. The Eagles struggled to cope with the offensive fluidity of the York offense with senior forward Anthony Bua in particular, proving a constant threat to the Eagles defense.
The proceedings were quite feisty with tackles flying in quite regularly. Senior forward Omar Ismail was an unlucky recipient of a slide tackle, suffering a bad calf injury in the 14th minute. He was able to walk off the field under his own power.
The Eagles were then controversially sent to 10 men in the 29th minute when junior Jacob Doyle was given a red card for a threatening tackle. Faced with the daunting prospect of playing over 60 minutes with 10 men, the Eagles then reverted to a 4-4-1 formation to deal with the situation.
With few shots and even fewer shots on target, the first half came to a close.
The second half was more exciting to the bustling crowd, particularly to the tiny York contingent, as Cody Pearson, who had been a constant threat to the Eagles defense throughout the afternoon, nailed in the winning goal for the Spartans in just a minute after the re-opening whistle.
The Eagles quickly rebalanced and resumed their pressing game, but York managed to maintain their team discipline, stifling whatever few chances the Mary Washington offense could muster up.
Toward the end, the Eagles abandoned their short passing game and began playing long through balls in order to break down the stubborn and resolute Spartan defense, but the Spartans managed to hold through to extend their own unbeaten run to four games.
Midfielder Torre Swope could hardly hold his frustration at the refereeing in the game.
“[It was] awful,” he said. “It was just so unprofessional and very disappointing.”
Head coach Jason Kilby, commenting on the team performance, said, “I thought the guys worked extremely hard. You know, it’s difficult when you play a man down against a good team, but we stuck in there and never allowed them to roll over us”
York had 13 shots with six on target while Eagles had just six shots with one on target.
The Eagles played 17th ranked Christopher Newport last night and lost to the Captains 3-0. They will play at Marymount on Sunday.