Men’s soccer wins at Homecoming, clinches spot in playoffs

BY JAMES BOLAND ’15
Contributing Writer

The men’s soccer team took the field Oct. 20 for the seventh conference game of the season against the Washington College Shoremen. The Diplomats, who were 3-3 in conference play and 10-4 overall, looked to improve their fourth place standing versus a weaker Shoremen squad. The team also used the game to honor the four seniors on the team during their last homecoming. The pre-game ceremonies included each of the four seniors walking out to center field with their parents, as their various accomplishments were read out by the announcer.

After the ceremonies concluded and the game began, the Diplomats quickly asserted their authority over the Shoremen with a rapid succession of passes that led to an immediate shot toward goal. This would be the first of many attempts as the Diplomats recorded 14 shots throughout the night, four of which were on target.

F&M continued to dominate the run of play during the first half, passing around Washington’s midfield only later to be stopped by a sturdy Shoremen’s defense or an off-target shot. This trend of the Diplomats not being able to finish in the final third was ongoing during the entire first half, while Washington’s chances were limited to counter-attacks and set-pieces.

None of the Shoremen’s attacks were particularly threatening, lacking edge, and were handily dealt with by the Diplomats defense and
goalkeeper, T.J. White ’15.

When the second half started, the Shoremen played much more aggressive and lively. This led to two quick chances for the visitors and put the Diplomats on their heels as they tried to regain control. F&M, however, managed to wrest back control of the game and reimpose their passing style on the Shoremen. Often utilizing their wingers, the Diplomats broke time and time again against the visitors only to have their final ball cut out by the Shoremen’s central defenders.

A frustrated F&M offense finally put the team ahead in the 71st minute when Sam Lane ’15 and Shawn Ganow ’13 combined down the middle, ending in a shot from Lane that went sailing past the Shoremen’s keeper. After the first goal, the Diplomats showed a rise in confidence and continued to pour forward against the Shoremen team who was now clearly on its back foot. On numerous occasions the Shoremen’s defenders and goalkeeper were called to bail on their team and keep themselves from falling further behind as the Diplomats continued their attack.

The Diplomats found success again in the 82nd minute when Jared Bomba ’15 cleaned up the aftermath from Ben Beaver’s ’14 shot off the post, and neatly tucked away F&M’s second goal of the game.

During the final minutes of play, the game turned more physical as the visiting team became frustrated, and the F&M players responded in kind. This led to a penalty kick for Washington College after a scramble in Diplomat’s box that ended with Benjamin Henry ’14 receiving a yellow card. Ryan Duffy of the Shoremen narrowly pushed the penalty into the net in the 83rd minute, reducing the deficit to one goal. The game continued its physical tempo as F&M sought to protect its one goal lead and secure its fourth conference victory. Before the game concluded, the referee issued two more yellow cards in the 89th minute, one to each team.

A few seconds later, the referee blew the whistle, ending the game and concluding a hard-fought victory for the Diplomats and improving its overall record to 11-4.

More recently, the Dips took on Gettysburg College away in Gettysburg, PA. F&M defeated the team with ease 3-1.

This win officially clinched a spot for the team in the Centennial Conference playoffs; this will mark F&M’s fourth straight year into the playoffs.

On Saturday, the team traveled to Carlisle, PA, where they were defeated 3-0 by Dickinson College. This placed the team as the fifth seed in the playoffs.

In their first playoff game, the Diplomats will be taking on Johns Hopkins University away in Baltimore, MD on Wednesday.

Questions? Email James at jboland@fandm.edu.

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