The Shepherd Rams men’s soccer team fell to West Virginia Wesleyan 5-1 on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 20.
From the start of the match, West Virginia Wesleyan displayed great ball movement and finesse, breathing down the Rams’ backs with countless early shots.
The Rams were holding up well, countering every offensive play the Bobcats had, until Bobcat Juwon Akintunde scored on a header from a nice cross by teammate Luca Falconeri.
Later in the first half, an accidental but careless slide tackle from a Rams defender set up a penalty kick opportunity for the Bobcats. Jens Demul of the Bobcats sent it to the back of the net.
Goalkeeper Jeff Kammerer of the Rams saw and tried to stop a long pass from the Bobcats’ Falconeri to the front line, but once he was outside the box, he was not allowed to use hands to stop the ball, and Tre Taliaferro capitalized on the mistake when Kammerer could not clear the ball, tapping the ball to the back of the net just outside the box for an easy goal.
Trailing 3-0 at the half, the Rams came out with a different level of energy and focus. The Rams had crisp ball movement and timely passes, which set up a free kick just outside the box on the right side. Junior midfielder Kevin Bonanno took the free kick and placed it nicely into the near-side corner, just outside the reach of the goalkeeper.
A bit of panic started to set in for the Bobcats, but quickly went away as the Bobcats started to move the ball well again. Off a corner kick, Ian Miles of the Bobcats banked the ball into the goal off the left post, just barely crossing the line before being cleared away. This increased the Bobcats lead to 4-1.
The fifth goal came off of a drive down the left baseline from a nice cross that was finished off by Conor Davies. At 5-1, the game was out of reach for the Rams.
Goalkeepers Jeff Kammerer and Matt Lacy totaled a combined 10 saves in the goal. They both felt constant harassment, as the Bobcats fired from all angles, totaling 34 shots to the Rams’ 11.
The Rams play again on Monday, Oct. 24, against Seton Hill at home at 2:30 p.m.
Anthony Bracken is a Staff Writer for The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.