Review & preview: Washington College

A look at the 2013 season for the Shoremen and a glimpse into 2014

June 20, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Here is the sixth installment of a series that checks in with the eight Division III programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Teams are scheduled to appear according to the chronological order in which their seasons ended. Wednesday’s visit was with St. Mary’s. Thursday’s visit is with Washington College.

REVIEW

The good: The Shoremen’s 10-7 victory over Colorado College in the first round of the NCAA tournament may not have been earth-shattering, but the win was the program’s first in the postseason since 2008 when that squad defeated Lynchburg, 12-9. The decision over the Tigers was a tide-changing moment for Washington, which had dropped a 5-4 decision to Goucher in the first round of the 2012 NCAA tournament. “I think it’s huge, and the reason why I say that is now it’s expected,” coach Jeff Shirk said. “Two years ago, we got to the NCAA tournament for the first time for everybody on the team. We played a tough Goucher team that we felt we could beat, but we hadn’t stepped over that hump yet. So I don’t think all of the guys on the team truly felt like they belonged. I felt like getting that win this year and having the performance that we did against Stevenson to where I think a lot of guys are ticked off right now because we felt like we let one slip away. Those last five minutes of the game are ones that we felt we could have had. So I think guys expect to be there now. Time will tell, but I think it’s going to be significant.”

… One highlight of the team’s 13-5 overall record and 5-3 mark in the Centennial Conference was a 7-6 defeat of Salisbury in a non-conference tilt on April 17. The victory helped Washington snap a 12-game losing skid to the reigning 10-time national champion Sea Gulls and gave the players some much-needed confidence. “It’s such a rivalry here and for the recent history of Salisbury being pretty dominant over the past decade, I definitely think that was a highlight, especially with the atmosphere, the Wednesday night, the student body,” Shirk said. “It was a pretty neat environment.”

… The squad boasted a plethora of standout efforts from players like senior attackman and second-team All American Bennett Cord (33 goals and 31 assists), junior midfielder and honorable-mention All American Hunter Nowicki (20 G, 13 A), junior long-stick midfielder Jonny Poe (46 ground balls, 35 caused turnovers), junior defenseman Casey McKnight (29 GB, 12 CT) and junior goalkeeper Ted DiSalvo (8.98 goals-against average and .576 save percentage). But sophomore Michael Trapp ranked 20th in Division III in faceoff percentage (64.8 percent on 228-of-352) and 34th in ground balls per game (7.3) en route to being named a third-team All American, and his performances stood out to Shirk. “I think Michael Trapp consistently throughout the year was outstanding,” Shirk said. “My big thing with pushing him from a sophomore to a junior is to make sure that he’s going to take that leadership role and stay focused because if he stays on track, he could have an unbelievable career when he graduates. So he really stands out from a performance standpoint.”

The bad: After finishing first in the Centennial Conference and capturing the regular-season title in 2012, the Shoremen slid back to fourth, barely qualifying for the four-team league tournament before getting doubled up by Dickinson in the semifinal round. Shirk said dominating the conference is always the team’s first priority. “We want to win the conference, and it’s not just a goal that I say to the guys,” he said. “It’s the guys wanting it and they work hard in the offseason and during the season to put themselves in a position to compete for it. I think the biggest thing we can do is make sure that we’re ready for every game so that we put ourselves where we’re in a position to compete in the conference tournament. We’ve just got to do a better job of being ready to go.”

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