The Shepherd University men’s soccer team had a successful start to their 2014 campaign courtesy of two decisive wins against Chowan and East Stroudsburg.
In their first three matches of the season, the men’s soccer team has found many ways to penetrate the defense and tally nine goals on 55 shot attempts.
During the 2013 season, the Rams found the back of the net 15 times in 221 shot attempts. In three games, this team has nearly matched the total number of goals scored all of last year. These statistics symbolize the improvements the men’s soccer team is making this year.
In their most recent action, the Rams fought hard to achieve a 3-3 draw when they traveled to Takoma Park, Md. on Sept. 9 to face Washington Adventist University.
Shepherd, along with their opponent, battled hard on the pitch to come out of the game with a tie. Both teams were evenly matched on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Senior forward Ricky Johnson, senior defender Max Psillas and freshman defender Kyle Smith each scored unassisted goals for the Rams.
The Shock rallied behind their star player Emmanuel Ajayi who led the team with a pair of unassisted goals. Shepherd junior goalkeeper Alex Aleshire allowed three goals however he remained composed and improved on his earlier mistakes by making several clutch saves to help keep the game tied. Moreover, the Rams held a 25-23 advantage in shots and an 8-3 edge in corner kicks.
The Rams were looking forward to ride this wave of momentum and recent success into their next match however it was against a formidable and highly ranked University of Charleston team. In the most recent week to week NSCAA/Continental Tire National College National Rankings for NCAA Division II soccer teams released Tuesday, Sept. 9, the Golden eagles of Charleston were ranked 8th in the nation as a result of getting two impressive wins against #6 Mercyhurst and Gannon.
The Shepherd men’s soccer team had their work cut out for them if they wanted to get the victory against the University of Charleston on Sept. 14. That proved to be the case as the Rams struggled mightily the entire game. They were dominated by the Golden Eagles from the opening minute to final whistle; eventually losing by a score of 11-2.
Eight different Charleston players tallied goals for the Golden Eagles while Shepherd’s only two goals came in the second half from Myles Newhouse and Kyle Smith, but the game had already been all but decided.
Newhouse scored at the 49:14 mark shortly after the halftime concluded while Smith tallied his goal in the 81st minute of garbage time. Furthermore, the University of Charleston had a lopsided 31 to 8 advantage in shots while junior goalie Alex Aleshire made eight saves for Shepherd.
The Rams, who currently have a record of 2-1-1 early into this season, are nowhere close to being as good as The University of Charleston however, they have the potential to be if they simply continue to build on their young talent and make steady improvements after every practice, every game and every season.
The Rams will travel to Athens, W. Va. on Sept. 17 to face Concord University followed by a game with Wheeling Jesuit University on Sept. 20 in Wheeling, W. Va. Their next home game is against West Virginia Wesleyan College on Sept. 23 and it will take place at noon.