Washington College: Men’s Soccer Season Preview

WashCollegeCHESTERTOWN, Md. — One of the strongest and most experienced senior classes in recent years will look to lead the Washington College men’s soccer team to its first Centennial Conference Tournament appearance this fall, a goal that has been well within reach each of the past two seasons.

Last year, the Shoremen opened the season with four straight shutout wins for the first time in program history. That streak was followed by five consecutive losses, three of them by one goal and three of them coming in their first three Centennial Conference games. The Shoremen bounced back with five straight wins to up their overall record to 9-5 and even their conference record at 3-3. They then ended the season with three hard-fought one-goal losses to the three teams who finished immediately ahead of them in the Centennial Conference standings. All told, six of the Shoremen’s eight losses on the season came by a single goal; they were 5-2 in games decided by more than one goal.

This fall, then, marks the final shot at the postseason for a group of eight seniors who have logged a combined 347 games played and 235 starts over the previous three years. All eight of those seniors have made two or more starts in each of the past three years. Half of that senior class will be serving as the team’s four captains this season – midfielder Dimitri Kaliakin (Landenberg, Pa./Salesianum School), defender Derek Stiles (Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough), midfielder/defender Cole Strong (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park), and forward Brian Wilkinson (Sykesville, Md./Mount St. Joseph).

Kaliakin’s team-leading nine assists last season upped his career total to 20, making him just the fifth Shoreman in history to record 20 or more career assists and putting him seven assists shy of the career school record. He also scored one goal while starting all 17 games last fall.

Strong is the team’s reigning Most Valuable Player after a season which saw him score his first collegiate points on two goals and three assists while starting every one of his 15 games. Stiles, meanwhile, had 12 starts in as many games, while Wilkinson’s five goals and three assists gave him 13 total points, second-most on the team, in 17 starts.

Completing the senior class are midfielder Christian Cooke (Bowie, Md./DeMatha), forward Chris Lewandowski (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon), midfielder/forward Drew Thompson (Montclair, Va./Woodbridge), and goalkeeper Jonathan Wendeborn (Lambertville, N.J./South Hunterdon).

Lewandowski led the team in total points last fall with 16, tying for the team lead in goals with six and finishing second to Kaliakin in assists with four while starting all 17 games. Thompson made 16 starts in 17 games and contributed two goals and two assists, while Cooke had a pair of assists in 16 games, 14 of them starts. Wendeborn made five starts in goal for the Shoremen, finishing with a 1.65 goals-against average.

Defenders Michael Holowesko (Nassau, Bahamas/Asheville School [N.C.]) and Chris Gingrich (Westfield, N.J./Union Catholic) and midfielders Skyler Clark(Clinton, Conn./The Gunnery) and Debashish Goenka (Mumbai, India/Hiranandani Foundation School – Powai) comprise the Shoremen’s junior class. In addition to being a stout defender and starting all 17 games, Holowesko’s height (6’5″) proved an asset on set pieces and corner kicks a year ago as he tied for the team lead with six goals on just 14 shots, all but one of them on headers. Gingrich played in all 17 games as well, making 12 starts, while Clark made one start and scored one goal in his 17 games played. Goenka scored his first collegiate goal last season, playing in six games.

Sophomore goalkeeper Josh Samuels (Allentown, N.J./Allentown) had an impressive freshman season last fall, making 11 starts in 13 games, posting a save percentage of .762, and recording a goals-against average of 0.83.

Four other current sophomores appeared in 11 or more games as rookies last fall – midfielders Aaron Barclay (Crofton, Md./Archbishop Spalding) andDavid McSwain (Durham, N.C./Riverside), forward/midfielder Brian Graham (Chatham, N.J./Chatham), and midfielder/defender Kevin Sawyer (Washington, D.C./St. John’s College H.S.). Graham played all 17 games, notching one goal and two assists, McSwain had one goal and one assist in 13 games, Barclay made one start in 11 games and scored one goal, and Sawyer tallied one assist and played in 12 games.

Other returning sophomores include midfielder/defender Christian Keller (Virginia Beach, Va./Norfolk Collegiate School), defender Pat O’Neal (Birmingham, Ala./Altamont School), and defender/midfielder Kyle Kirwan (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair). Keller played in seven games, while O’Neal appeared in two. Kirwan did not see game action as a freshman.

Three other sophomores have joined the Shoremen’s roster since last fall. Midfielder Matt Rannie (Abingdon, Md./Bel Air) was a mid-year transfer from Randolph-Macon where he scored one goal and had one assist while making seven starts in 15 games last fall. Forward/midfielder Kyle Gaeffke (Haverford, Pa./Harriton) played at Merchant Marine last fall, appearing in three games. Forward Kidane Bell (Silver Spring, Md./James H. Blake) is a walk-on playing in his first season of collegiate soccer.

Eight freshmen complete the Shoremen’s roster – forward Liam Mansfield (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset), midfielders Griffin Bull (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley)Dylan Gray (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School), and Blake Hardesty (Bel Air, Md./Bel Air), defenders Sean Garin (Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson),Alexander Nagy (Rockville, Md./Rockville), and Evan Savoth (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven), and goalkeeper Jonathan Luciani (West Chester, Pa./Downingtown STEM Academy).

Roy Dunshee returns for his fifth season as head coach of the Shoremen. He has increased the Shoremen’s overall and/or conference win total in each of his first four seasons. Chris Koch, a 2016 Washington College graduate who played four years for the Shoremen, takes over as the team’s lead assistant coach.

The Shoremen will kick off their 2016 season September 1st with a non-conference game at Neumann. They will play their home opener five days later against St. Mary’s College of Maryland. On September 10th and 11th, the Shoremen will co-host the inaugural Delmarva Cup with Wesley College. Washington will play Hampden-Sydney on the 10th and Randolph-Macon on the 11th, with Wesley playing the opposite school each day. The Shoremen’s non-conference schedule will be completed with road games at Salisbury and Catholic and home games against Wesley and Goucher.

Washington’s quest for a conference tournament berth begins September 17th when the Shoremen host Dickinson in their Centennial opener. The Shoremen will also play conference home games against Muhlenberg, Ursinus, and Swarthmore and will take on Franklin & Marshall, Haverford, McDaniel, Gettysburg, and Johns Hopkins on the road.

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