Shepherd Men’s Soccer battles hard, but proves unable to find offense against Charleston

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Oliart, pictured here, and the Rams' offense could not take pressure off of the Rams' defense by keeping the ball and maintaining possession (Photo courtesy of Shepherd University Athletics Department).

The Rams (0-5-1, 0-3-0 MEC) competed from start to finish, but could not take down the number one-ranked Golden Eagles (6-0-0, 3-0-0 MEC) of Charleston in Shepherdstown Sunday afternoon, losing by a 2-0 score. 

Despite the score, this game was much closer when one reads between the lines. The Golden Eagles were not able to get any of their 13 shots in the first half past the Rams’ defense or freshman goalkeeper Jacob Dougal, who had eight saves in the match. 

Whether it was a save by Dougal, a block by a Ram, or just a simple miscue on the shot attempt, the Golden Eagles just could not finish off their impressive ball movement by putting one in the back of the net.  

However, the Rams’ offense found even greater difficulties going against the top-ranked Golden Eagles’ defense. As a team, the Rams were only able to get three shots off during the match.  

None of the three shots by senior forward Jeff Kammerer, senior defender Noah Blacker, or senior midfielder Ben Capriolo were on target, making life easier for the Golden Eagles’ redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Paulo Pita. With not shots by the Rams on target, Pita and the other Golden Eagles’ goalkeepers did not have to make a save during the entire game. 

Eventually, the Golden Eagles broke through the Rams’ defense and finally got one of their 29 shots to go in at the 53:41 mark in the game. Freshman midfielder Kieran Bywater found redshirt senior defender Thomas Vancaeyezeele in a hole in the Rams’ defense for a header that resulted in a beautiful goal for the Golden Eagles.   

Now up 1-0, the pressure was on the Rams to respond with a goal of their own. 

A shot by Blacker at the 65:39 mark went wide right, as the Rams were feeling a sense of urgency to tie the game. 

Just a few minutes later, at the 70:13 mark, the Golden Eagles kept pounding and struck again. Junior forward David Achaerandio launched an excellent pass to redshirt sophomore midfielder Gabriel Cabral, who sent the ball to the back of the net past Dougal to give the Golden Eagles a commanding 2-0 lead. 

The Rams’ last chance to score came off the foot of Kammerer, who sent a shot high at the 88:15 point in the game, effectively ending the Rams’ chance of a score.  

In terms of corner kick opportunities, the Rams found chances such as these hard to come by as well, as the team had none during the match. Charleston had 13 corner kicks, putting more and more pressure on the Rams’ defense. 

Although the Rams’ defense stiffened many times, they never got the support that they needed from the offense to take pressure off of them. This eventually led to Charleston breaking free and scoring the two goals to win the match. 

The Rams will be looking for their first victory of the season when they go on the road to face East Stroudsburg Tuesday afternoon at 5 p.m. 

Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at abrack02@rams.shepeherd.edu