Washington College’s 16-7 season-opening rout of Goucher on Saturday was dotted with familiar faces like senior midfielder Hunter Nowicki (three goals and three assists), senior attackman J.D. Campbell (two goals and two assists) and senior goalkeeper Ted DiSalvo (six goals allowed and nine saves).
But the Shoremen – who moved from No. 9 to No. 8 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll – also were fueled by a pair of freshmen in attackman Owen Evans and long-stick midfielder Zachary Kelly.
Evans scored two goals on five shots and added three assists. Kelly led the team with three caused turnovers and scored a goal. Their play resonated with coach Jeff Shirk.
“Both of those kids can play,” he said Thursday morning. “Owen has really kind of come into his own. Did a great job in the fall and the two weeks of the preseason. He continually got better. I don’t really know if we expected him to have the day that he did with the five points, but he played very well for a freshman. Zach Kelly, he’s athletic, he’s our top pole as a freshman. I’m just happy that those guys had some success because I think when you’re young and you have some success the first time you step onto the field when it really counts, I think that really helps build your confidence.”
Washington College also gave minutes to freshman Keita Christophe (McDonogh), Bennett Lloyd, Jon Heneberry (Calvert Hall) and Matt Allen. Shirk said he has no reservations about inserting rookies into a contest.
“We’ve got a bunch of young guys that have earned the right for playing time,” he said. “So they’re going to play regardless. So I think it kind of developed that way – more out of necessity that we do have a bunch of young guys that earned playing time. So we need to get them experience.”
The Shoremen will take to the road for the first time this season when they clash with their first ranked opponent in No. 15 Washington and Lee, which has not played since Feb. 22 in an 11-9 loss to No. 10 Denison.
Shirk thought the long layoff might help the Generals, who have had a longer time to prepare for Washington College. He also said that defeating Washington and Lee will not be an easy assignment.
“Whether they’re ranked or not, they’re a very, very good team,” he said. “So [a win would] be hugely significant in determining where we’re really at. We feel we’re pretty good, and we feel that we’re competitive at a national level, and Saturday is going to determine that, how good we actually are – playing on the big stage against a ranked opponent, against someone that’s very good. So a win would be huge for us.”