Washington College used a nine goal 2nd quarter to earn a much-needed Conference victory over the Haverford Black Squirrels on Wednesday afternoon. Attackmen Mike Sutter and Chris Read, both sophomores, led the offensive for the Shoremen with five points each (4 goals and 1 assist). Kevin Thibadeau contributed 17 saves to hold off the Haverford attack. Despite the loss, Haverford was guaranteed a spot in the Centennial Conference playoffs thanks to losses by both F&M and McDaniel. Washington needs one more win (or a Muhlenberg loss – that can be solved on Saturday when the face each other) to secure a spot in the four team field, which will also include Dickinson and Gettysburg. At this point, the seedings are completely up in the air with Haverford beating Dickinson, Dickinson beating WAC and Gettysburg beating WAC.
At this point, the seedings are completely up in the air. Haverford beat Dickinson in double overtime. Dickinson beat WAC 9-7. Gettysburg beat WAC 6-5. Gettysburg still has games with Dickinson and Haverford.
It was a much anticipated match-up, as this is the first year that Haverford sat atop the Centennial Conference standings so late into a season. Earlier in the season, Dickinson beat Washington for the time ever. WAC, however, wasn’t ready to allow another new power in the Centennial get their first-ever win.
The game started out a bit slow as both teams traded possessions and tried to feel each other out. Both goalies made some nice early saves to hold off any early offensive runs. WAC didn’t strike until nearly 9 minutes were elapsed in the first quarter and then with just over :30 in the first. The slow style of play in the first quarter saw Haverford warned twice to keep the ball in. Both times the Black Squirrels were pressured into forcing the issue after the call was made and resulted in turnovers. The early pace was probably the type of ball control game that Haverford was going for. The Shoremen, however, responded by taking advantage of the transition opportunities presented in the 2nd quarter.
Washington exploded with a nine goal 2nd quarter effort. Many of the goals came in transition situations, either a traditional fast-break opportunity, or a slow-break situation – where they worked it through X and pushed the back-side.
Haverford’s Coach Mike Murphy pointed out following the game, “We just didn’t execute, really, on the defensive end in particular. We got down a couple and we did things that we talk about not doing all the time. The communication on ball, techniques, slide packages, everything, there was very little about what we did today that was good on defense.” It was evident during the WAC 2nd quarter run that Haverford didn’t anticipate the offensive power WAC was capable of. Recent low-scoring affairs have hid the fact that, if presented with opportunities (giving the top-side on dodges, slow slides), they can finish and finish well.
“We played really hard, especially our attack today. Our attack has been an area where we felt really good going into the season. They’ve been good, but not great. I thought today they really came and played really hard and played really well. We rode well, we did well on groundballs,” said Washington head coach J.B. Clarke. “So we haven’t been scoring a lot of goals, for us to put that many up, our offense really came to play today.”
The 2nd quarter saw a reversal of the possession time as Washington controlled the pace. The 3rd quarter saw Haverford regain some possession time, but the goals didn’t come any easier. Washington goalie, Kevin Thibadeau, contributed 8 of his 17 saves in the 3rd, effectively keeping Haverford’s chances of a comeback at bay.
“[Offensively]We were a little hasty at times. We kind of dodged into double teams and forced things into the crease, which is a little uncharacteristic for us. Really, the quality of shots we took were not great. Low angles and stuff against a good goalie like that. You’re going to make him look good and keep your scoring down,” said Murphy. “I feel like as soon as we got down we had guys that started to press and try to make plays individually at both ends of the field.”
Offensively, the Shoremen were led by the performances of Sutter and the oddly numbered #85 Read, with both contributing four goals and an assist. For Haverford, sophomore midfielder Dean Granoff led the way offensively with three goals and an assist, with some nice moves. However, late in the game it looked like Haverford’s offense reverted to watching him try and butt dodge his way in, rather than the ball movement and motion that they showed in the early stages.
At the end of the day, the face-off statistics were in favor of Haverford, 13 out of 24. However, it seemed (and judging by the pictures) that Washington freshman, Thayer Damm, controlled every draw he took (box score said he was 8 of 18 on the day). The wings for Haverford must have done a nice job tying it up and causing a scrum. It seemed that Washington had a distinct advantage in this category, apparently not.
Washington was able to clear the ball successfully 19 of 22 tries. Haverford, on the other hand, only managed 10 of 18 attempts. Credit must also be given to the Washington ride. “We were very concerned about covering the hole, sometimes when you do that you ride better. You get some balls knocked down in front of you and you get some transition going back into your offensive end,” said Clarke.
The big surprise and difference in the game was the ease with which Washington scored in unsettled situations. Coach Clarke didn’t expect to get many transition opportunities.
“I thought they would. They’re real good at dodging in transition, that’s one of the ways they score a lot of goals,” he said following the game.
For Haverford, it was a chance to take yet another step up for the program. Instead they’ll have to wait for that chance this Saturday against Gettysburg or for a shot at revenge in their first-ever Centennial Conference playoffs.
“We have to come out and play better. That was probably our worst game of the year, 2nd worst game. Unfortunately it came at a time where it would have been nice to have played well,” said Murphy. “ I just said to the team in the huddle that ‘We just have to put this behind us right now. We’re done. We will not talk about this Washington game again, we might see them again.’ We just have to put it behind us and get ready for Gettysburg. Gettysburg’s another good team we face, we’ll have to bring our A game.”
It was a boost for a Washington team, which following the Dickinson loss saw a drop in the rankings. They’ve also had some trouble finding the net against good opponents. This should serve as a confidence boost as they head into their last two Centennial Conference games of the year and then the “War at the Shore” (can it still be called that?) at M&T Bank Stadium against Salisbury on the 29th.
|Dean Granoff||(3, 1)|
|Max Tcheyan||(0, 1)|
|Mike Distler||(0, 1)|
|Matt Thorne Fitzgerald||(1, 0)|
|Joe Mauri||(1, 0)|
|Kc Peterson||12 (0.429)|