Washington College got what it wanted, avenging a two-game sweep last season by thumping host Goucher, 16-8, last Saturday. In the process, the Shoremen may have gotten something that could pay dividends in the future.
Nine different players scored goals in the victory, and while senior attackman Bennett Cord – last season’s leading scorer – registered two goals and one assist, Washington’s offense was much more diversified than just one player.
Among the highlights, junior midfielder Hunter Nowicki paced the team with three goals and one assist, sophomore midfielder Grant Hughes scored three times, and senior attackman Matt Lewis posted one goal and two assists.
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The multiple contributions delighted coach Jeff Shirk, who was worried that there might be too much pressure on Cord.
“The nice thing about it is, Bennett played great and they had to key on Bennett. But it allowed other guys to step up, and I think it really showed our depth to where we were four or five attackmen deep and we were definitely six or seven middies deep,” Shirk said. “It’s nice when everyone’s worried about Bennett and everybody thinks we’re going to rely on Bennett, and he does share, but then everybody steps up and does their share, too. So it was nice to see a bunch of guys step up.”
The Shoremen opened the contest with eight goals, which doubled the team’s total output in a one-goal loss to the Gophers in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament. And when Goucher made a 4-1 run spanning the second and third quarters to make the score 9-7, Washington scored six unanswered goals to cement the win.
Shirk admitted that he was a little surprised at the offense’s efficiency in its first game of the season.
“To be honest with you, I’m more impressed watching the film than I was live,” Shirk said. “I think we played very well, moved the ball crisply, shot with confidence. So I hate to say that they played better than expected, but they definitely overachieved. … Guys just had the look in their eyes that they were focused from the time we met in the locker room for breakfast to the time what the whistle started. I think it just really helped reinforce that being focused and being mentally ready to go is going to help us, and I think that was shown by the quick start.”