After posting three straight wins to close out the regular season and an imperative win in the first round of the 2012 WVIAC men’s soccer tournament, the Rams were ultimately shut down in the semi-final round of the tournament on Saturday, Nov. 3 with a 3-0 loss to #4 University of Charleston.
With three games remaining in the team’s regular season, the chances at a postseason berth were beginning to appear unlikely. Instead, the Rams dominated their opponents and achieved victory in all three of those matches to secure a 5th seed placement in the WVIAC men’s soccer tournament. Due to the affects from Hurricane Sandy, the first round of the WVIAC tournament was postponed from Tuesday, Oct. 30 until Thursday, Nov. 1.
Shepherd traveled to Wheeling, W.Va., on Nov. 1 to take on the fourth seeded Wheeling Jesuit University Cardinals. When these two teams met in the regular season, the Cardinals claimed the 3-1 win over Shepherd. However, the Rams had the final say by attaining a 2-0 upset win over Wheeling Jesuit to move on to the semi-finals.
Despite this game’s being postponed two days, it ended up having no negative effect on how the Rams played during the match. During most of the first half, both teams mostly played near the center of the field and jockeyed for field position.
However, at the 38:06 mark, junior midfielder Kevin Doyle scored an unassisted goal to give Shepherd a 1-0 lead. In the final minutes of the first half, the Cardinals vigorously tried to respond with a goal of their own, but the Rams managed to fight off all of their attacks.
Coming out of the halftime break, Wheeling Jesuit controlled the pace of play and continued their attempts to tie the match.
Nevertheless, at the 60th minute, senior forward Shane Lowery created a one-on-one breakaway and took a shot of goal after charging through the Cardinal defense. Lowery’s shot bounced off the crossbar. However, freshman forward Bryce Fugitt was in perfect position to put in the rebound and give the Rams a 2-0 lead and, ultimately, the win. Wheeling Jesuit had a 14-8 advantage in shots and 5-3 edge in corner kicks in the match. Nonetheless, Shepherd left with the victory.
Because of the win in the first round against Wheeling Jesuit, the Rams moved on to face the number one seeded University of Charleston Golden Eagles in Charleston, W.Va., on Nov. 3.
The Golden Eagles posted an early goal in the 12th minute to take a 1-0 lead. Charleston’s Ceth Locklear placed the ball perfectly in front of the net for his teammate Alexander Gallard to shoot and find the back of the net. The Rams vigorously tried to fight back against the strong Charleston defense and keep the shot count running.
After the break, the Golden Eagles kept the ball moving and in their possession. They posted two goals in the second half to secure the victory, making the final score 3-0 and ending the season for the Rams.
Shepherd completes the season with a 9-9-1 overall record while Charleston becomes 13-1-1 and advanced to the 2012 WVIAC Men’s Soccer Tournament Championship Game.