October 6, 2011

Week 6 Flybys, midweek edition

By Christan Shirk

In what may or may not become a regular feature, we will run down a whole host of results from across the nation, "flybys" if you will, with brief comments that hopefully are informative, insightful, and interesting.  The intent is to give snapshots of the enitre D-III soccer landscape, covering important high profile matches but also going off the beaten path as much as possible as we criss-cross the country.


Thursday, October 6

No. 18 William Paterson 2, Richard Stockton 1 (OT) – With Rutgers-Camden and Montclair St. making their cases for being the best in Jersey, William Paterson went to work on visiting Richard Stockton who had started the season brightly enough but have stuttered, to say the least, since the start of conference play.  Coming off a 2-0 loss at Alvernia just two days earlier, a response from the Osprey would have been expected, but none was forthcoming and it was nearly one-way traffic in the direction of the goal they were defending from start to finish.  The scoring was nearly opened in the 21st minute but for a goal-line clearance by an Osprey defender, and--soccer being the cruel sport that can be--it was Paterson that found themselves down 1-0 minutes later when Stockton converted their only shot of the half, a penalty kick that resulted from a defensive handball on a corner kick.  The one-goal lead would stand despite the Pioneers’ increased pressure after the break and when two successive shots clattered either post it seemed destined to be “one of those days” for the hosts.  But justice was partially served when Paterson (9-2-2 / 3-1-1) equalized on a free kick a couple minutes later and was completed 1:41 into overtime with Stockton (7-5-1 / 1-2-1) having no basis for complaint.


Wednesday, October 5

Misericordia 1, Dickinson 1 (2OT) – Misericordia came in a perfect 9-0-0, the last five and seven of nine by shutout, but against a suspect slate of opponents.  Dickinson was carrying a more modest 6-3-2 record, but was right in the mix at the top of the traditionally strong Centennial Conference having dealt highly ranked Swarthmore a rare loss.   The game seemed to be a great opportunity to see if Misericordia is for real, and they answered in the affirmative, even if not resoundingly so, outshooting the Red Devils 25-7 and forcing twice as many corners (11-5).  Their incisiveness in the attacking third and their finishing needs work to compete with the big boys, and is to blame for having to settle for  the 1-1 tie against a defense accustomed to facing quality attacking sides.  Nevertheless, it should be Dickinson (6-3-3) who has more reason for concern after this result; Miscericordia (9-0-1) is still undefeated if not perfect.

Calvin 3, Olivet 0 – The Comet’s magical run—9-1-1, 10 shutouts, 0.27 GAA, 5-0 in the MIAC—was halted in its tracks by a Calvin side still licking its wounds after being taken down 2-0 by Trine last week despite a 4-1 win over Albion in the interim.  Not happy to be playing third fiddle in the MIAA to the Trine up-starts and evermore competitive Olivet, the Knights came to make a point that they are still top dog in the conference.  And that they did, putting the game out of reach with two goals soon after the interval adding to a first half tally.  The winning margin could have grown, but Olivet’s keeper made 8 second half saves to limit the damage as Calvin (9-3-0 / 5-1-0) grew in strength.   Olivet (9-2-1 / 5-1-0) falls into a first place tie with the victors in the MIAA standings.

No. 1 Messiah 2, York (Pa.) 1 – Any difference in quality is usually muted if not completely lost when rivals lock horns, and it wasn’t evident that this was the nation’s No.1 ranked team versus a sub .500 team.  York, who to be fair is much better than your typical 3-5-3 team, brought intensity from the opening whistle that had Messiah on their heels at first and lead to an early free kick opportunity that was well place to beat Messiah keeper.  Messiah would recover and hold the upper hand for the balance of the match, scoring the equalizer ten minutes later, but when a tap-in for the lead was sent over the bar later in the opening stanza, it would remain tense to the end.  The winner came13 minutes from time with Messiah (10-0-1) mounting pressure for an assurance goal until the final whistle.

No. 21 Muhlenberg 0, New Jersey 0 (2OT) – An even and competitive first half of soccer turned into an attacking orgy in the second half featuring end-to-end action and an even split of a combined 29 shots, 13 on target.  Midway through the period Muhlenberg (6-2-1) almost broke the deadlock when the Lion’s keeper came off his line to make a block only for the ball to fall to the Mules who rapid-fired three shots on goal only to be denied each time by Lion defender covering for their keeper.  Then with the clock ticking down on one minute, TCNJ (4-5-3) almost tallied the game-winner, beating the keeper from outside the box only to be denied by the crossbar.  The surprisingly scoreless spectacle was extended for 20 more minutes of entertainment, but despite 45 total shots, the game ended as it started, 0-0, and the least likely of games went into the books as the first scoreless affair on Muhlenberg’s home turf since 2004.  The tie leaves the Mules 1-2-1 in their last four having been outplayed by Johns Hopkins and Swarthmore in the two losses.  Without any notable wins to date, it’s more than fair to question their inclusion in the Top 25.

Rutgers-Camden 4, Stevenson 1 – Yet unranked Rutgers-Camden (10-2-1) continued to make their case, improving in the second half of this one to dispatch of Stevenson (5-6-1).  The Scarlet Raptors will duke it out with Montclair St. this Saturday at home for first place in the NJAC.

No. 2 Christopher Newport 4, St. Mary's (Md.) 1 – St. Mary’s (5-6-0) did well to keep the game close until halftime, but it was Christopher Newport’s game after the break, a penalty kick conversion for St. Mary’s after a hand ball notwithstanding. With the road win, the Captains improve their unbeaten record to 9-0-1.

Brandeis 2, Wheaton (Mass.) 0 – Brandeis defeated Wheaton (Mass.) for the first time since 1996, ending a head-to-head winless streak that had reached 14 games, thirteen being losses.  With a challenging UAA slate yet ahead of them, Brandeis (7-2-1) remains an unlikely candidate for an NCAA berth that would be their first in 25 years.  But with the likes of Carnegie Mellon and Emory struggling, this year might be their best chance in nearly a decade for the D-III power of the late 70’s and early 80’s to do well in conference play.

No. 14 North Park 2, UW-Whitewater 0 – It was a very intriguing pairing of a resurgent Whitewater who was riding a six-game winning streak after their 0-4 start and undefeated North Park who was tying as often as winning bringing into question their high national ranking.  North Park (6-0-5) despite missing four regulars, came to play and nearly put the game away in the first half hour, but the woodwork denied them thrice leaving them with only a solitary goal advantage.  Visiting Whitewater (6-5-0) finally came into the game and had the upper hand in the last quarter hour of the opening half, but were denied any equalizer.  The hosts doubled their advantage in the 65th minute and saw out the game for the 2-0 victory.  The loss dealt a severe blow to growing hope that Whitewater might actually be able to catch rival Oshkosh in the race for the lone Pool B berth.

Redlands 3, La Verne 0 – The wins and the shutouts just keep coming for Redlands, eight straight and five straight, respectively.  The only surprise here is that it was only three goals for the victory as the Bulldogs move to 10-3-0 on the season and a perfect 7-0 in the SCIAC after the first pass through the conference slate.  They have never trailed in conference play having out-scored their rivals 28 to 1.  You can forget about that 1-0 double overtime loss to Chapman four weeks ago, this is the best team that California and the entire west coast has to offer.

No. 13 Wesleyan 2, Coast Guard 0 – After a scoreless first half despite their superiority, undefeated Wesleyan (7-0-2) stepped it up a notch in the second stanza and were rewarded with a pair of goals for their third straight win and fourth straight shutout.

No. 11 Swarthmore 1, Manhattanville 0 – When looking at Swarthmore’s schedule, this wasn’t one of the games that would have been circled and highlighted.  But a decent Manhattanville program was having a nice run at 9-2-0 including a win over Vassar and falling 4-3 to Stevens after coming back from 3 goals down to tie. And the Valiants indeed did give the Garnett a game, playing 70-plus minutes of scoreless soccer before Swarthmore (8-2-0) tallied the game’s lone goal. 

No. 6 Dominican 2, Benedictine 1 – In a NAC encounter that one would have expected Dominican (10-1-0 / 5-0-0) to dominate, the Stars struggled to put away Benedictine (4-6-1 / 2-2-1), falling short of their season averages for shots, SOG, and goals.  Everything seemed normal in the first half with an early goal and Dominican generating the only offense.  But it stayed 1-0 into the half, and afterwards the game evened some as Benedictine improved.  Then things got real interesting when the Eagles equalized in the 64th minute, but Dominican’s All-American Lio Tovar came through with his first game-winner of the season 11 minutes from time.  

No. 16 Ohio Northern 3, Manchester 0 – Besides their goal, Ohio Northern (9-2-2) was matched by the inferior Manchester (3-7-1) in the opening 45 minutes.  The visiting Polar Bears asserted themselves more on both ends in the second half to come away 3-0 winners, but it still has to go down as another in a string of inconsistent and unconvincing performances since their 6-0 start.

No. 22 Salisbury 2, Johns Hopkins 0 – Despite inconsistent play, Johns Hopkins came in undefeated their last six but needing to prove themselves, something a win over ranked Salisbury would help them do.  Salisbury was fresh off an emotional 1-0 overtime defeat of CAC rivals York.  After a scoreless midfield struggle in the first half, the game opened up after the break with Salisbury (7-2-1) being the sharper of the two sides, striking twice for the win, both goals exhibiting good interplay and individual skill. Hopkins at 5-3-3 has themselves in a precarious position with regard to a sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA’s.

No. 17 Stevens 4, New Jersey City 0 – Stevens (8-2-0) made quick work of the NJAC’s bottom rung, scoring three times inside of 22 minutes with another before halftime.  The Ducks travel to unbeaten Elmira on Saturday with supremacy in the Empire 8 on the line.

Adrian 2, Trine 1 (OT) – Coming off their first loss of the season to the similarly surprising Olivet, Trine looked to jump right back in the win column against the MIAA caboose.  And it seemed simple enough: one of the nation’s best defenses (a nation-leading 0.19 GAA, eight shutouts) against a toothless attack (5 total goals for a 0.56 GSA, shutout 5 times).  But Adrian, winless since the season opener, gave the soccer gods something to laugh about, matching Trine’s first half tally with one of their own in the second and showing that they know how to play a little defense themselves by keeping their hosts off the board the rest of the way.  The last laugh came when a defensive turnover cost the Thunder (7-2-2 / 3-2-1) in overtime, and the Bulldogs (2-7-1 / 1-5-0) managed to do in 93 minutes what took ten prior opponents 940 minutes to do: score twice on Trine.

Randolph 2, Lynchburg 1 (OT) – Three losses in a row to ODAC middle-class opposition illustrated how misleading Randolph’s 9-0 start was.  Lynchburg (3-5-2) losing to Randolph, even if being marginally superior throughout, illustrates how far the 2010 national runner-up has fallen.  Given losses to graduation, it was predictable that Lynchburg would struggle and would not be a Top 25 caliber team, at least not in the first half of the season.  But it’s becoming increasingly tempting to think that their 2010 tournament run was a case of “catching lightening in a bottle”.

Medaille 4, D'Youville 0 – Nothing new in Medaille (10-2-1 / 4-0-0) topping the AMCC standings, but it doesn’t seem that there will be anyone to push and challenge them as has been the case with Penn St.-Behrend in recent years and Pitt.-Greensburg before that.  Despite a 4-0-0 conference record. Pitt.-Bradford (4-5-1) should not be expected to fill that bill.

Drew 1, Ramapo 0 (2OT) – It’s not a win that will get Drew ranked despite now sporting a 9-2-0 record, but with a rather soft schedule and losses in their biggest two prior tests, Drew was needing anything approaching a quality win.  However a good performance by the visiting Rangers who held a 10 to 2 advantage in on-target shots during regulation was almost for naught as Ramapo (6-3-2) bent but did not break.  It took an extra 13 minutes for Drew to get their just rewards.

Tuesday, October 4

No. 3 Ohio Wesleyan 6, Oberlin 3 – Nine goals!  It’s important to point out that Ohio Wesleyan (10-1-0 / 2-0-0) was up 6-0 before conceding any goals in this NCAC tilt.  Still probably didn’t please the Bishops’ coaching staff to give up the goals regardless the score or who was on the field at the time.  FYI: Oberlin (4-8-0 / 1-2-0) responded with their first score just 13 seconds after OWU’s final tally, the sixth shortest time between goals by opposing teams in recorded Division III history.

 No. 10 Hobart 1, Ithaca 0 (OT) – On paper it was a east region mismatch that should have seen Hobart reach double-digit wins without too much fuss.  Ithaca was winless out of conference and just 2-4-1 overall but they made the Statesmen sweat it out, holding them scoreless and forcing overtime.  Hobart (10-1-0) had the upper hand, but that didn’t translate into many more quality looks at goal.  That changed in overtime with two goal-bound efforts inside of 1:40, the second the winner.

No. 12 Gustavus Adolphus 7, Crown 0 – Unlike Hobart, Gustavus Adolphus (10-1-1) were on cruise control in notching their tenth win of the season, as Crown offered little resistance (27 shots allowed, 16 corners conceded) and no bite (0 total shots).  Words like “thrashed”, “helpless”, and “shellacking” composed a brutally frank assessment on the Crown athletics website.

St. Olaf 7, Bethany Lutheran 0 – Another 7-goal outburst by a MIAC school over a UMAC school, Gustavus Adolphus over Crown being the other.  St. Olaf (8-2-1) was efficient in tallying five goals on seven shots within the first 34 minutes in response to a 0-1-1 previous week which saw them drop out of the Top 25.

Merchant Marine 1, No. 18 William Paterson 0 – In non-conference action, Merchant Marine (7-3-1) finally got their first quality win of the season ahead of their big Landmark clash with Catholic this Saturday.  The game’s lone goal game at the 15 minute mark, and the Mariners did well to keep William Paterson (8-2-2) off the board for the next 75 minutes.  Despite a 3-0 loss to NJAC rival Montclair State two weeks ago and a tie and overtime win last week, the Pioneers remained have ranked and above Montclair and Rutgers-Camden, something voters will surely have to reconsider now.

Hamilton 2, Oswego State 0 – Hamilton (3-4-1) took a little reprieve from the new harsh realities of life in the NESCAC with their second of just three non-conference matches on tab for 2011.  And the result was the same as the first, a 2-0 win, this time against Oswego St. (5-5-1) who is now winless in five after a 5-1-0 start.  With six shots on goal for each side, it was the two that eluded the Oswego keeper less than three minutes apart early in the second half that were the difference.

Middlebury 2, Castleton State 0 – In non-conference play, Middlebury (4-2-3) won their second in a row for the first time in 2011, netting goals on either side of the interval to down the co-leaders of the NAC. 

Macalester 5, Bethel 0 – They’ve already played themselves out of at-large berth consideration, but Macalester (6-5-0 / 3-2-0) could still have something to say about the MIAC championship after crushing Bethel (7-2-2 / 2-2-0) whose 5-0-2 non-conference record isn’t worth much along side this loss and the earlier 7-1 pounding at the hands of Augsburg (and Gustavus Adolphus is coming this weekend).

Framingham State 1, Springfield 0 – All good things must come to and end, and Springfield’s unbeaten run in 2011 was finally snapped in this NEWMAC-MASCAC dual.  Losing to a Framingham St. (4-5-1), mid-table in the MASCAC, in an evenly played match does not suggest success for the Pride when they take on NEWMAC rivals Babson and WPI a week apart with Brandeis in-between.

Thomas More 3, Grove City (Pa.) 1 – Thomas More (8-1-1 / 2-0-0) won their second straight Presidents’ match in as many games as they aim for a conference three-peat.

St. Joseph's (L.I.) 5, SUNY-Old Westbury 0 – St. Joseph’s (6-6-0) is a spotless 4-0 in the Skyline after this conference win and looking to regain the title and NCAA berth they lost in 2010 after back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009.

North Carolina Wesleyan 3, Roanoke 1 – With so many traditionally or recently good teams from the region struggling in 2011, Roanoke (8-3-1) looked to be making a case to be second to Christopher Newport in old traditional south region, but their case took a hit with the home loss, however competitive the game was.   N.C. Wesleyan (4-3-4), unbeaten in their last six after an 0-3-2 start, snapped the Maroon’s 16-game home unbeaten streak dating back to late October 2009.

Hardin-Simmons 3, McMurry 1 – In ASC action, Hardin-Simmons (5-3-2 / 5-1-1) handled bottom of the table McMurry (1-10-0 / 0-7-0) with ease to win their fifth straight, all in conference, after an 0-3-2 start and keep close to leader UT-Tyler at the top of the standings.

Carleton 6, Northwestern (Minn.) 1 – Carleton (6-3-2) gains second straight 6-1 victory, both out of conference, in preparation for a big MIAC clash with leader Augsburg on Saturday. The Knights sit second at 3-0-1 to the Auggues 4-0-0.

Endicott 3, St. Joseph's (Maine) 0 – A week ago, Endicott was winless at 0-6-2 with only two total goals scored, but have now a run of three W’s in which they found the net nine times

Bowdoin 1, Bates 0 – It took a match against bottom of the table Bates (2-5-0 / 0-5-0) for Bowdoin (4-3-1 / 1-3-1) to finally post their first “W” in NESCAC play.  It’s been tough for the Polar Bear to live up to the expectations raised by last season’s success (NESCAC runner-up and regular season champs, NCAA semifinalist), but with Colby, Hamilton, and Tufts yet on their schedule they certainly would be expected to clinch at least the eighth and final playoff spot if not better and then who knows what can happen. Wesleyan won the title as the #7 seed in 2005.

Catholic 2, Washington College 1 (OT) – Catholic (7-3-0) threw everything at Washington (3-5-2) in the second half to overturn the 1-0 deficit from an early goal, but despite the nearly one-way traffic it was close to being “one of those games” for the Cardinals  Then with under ten to play, on their 14th shot of the half, tenth on target, they finally beat the opposing keeper on a shot that bounced over him.  A free kick goal early in ovetime completed the deserved comeback.  Saturday they travel to Merchant Marine in a huge Landmark battle for first place.

Mass-Dartmouth 5, Roger Williams 4 (2OT) – In a wild, high-scoring contentious affair with huge swings of momentum, Roger Williams not only lost a 4-2 lead and the game, but also their unbeaten record.  From 2-0 for Mass-Dartmouth to 4-2 for the Hawks to 4-4 forcing overtime and then the sudden-death game winner coming as the clock ran down on the second overtime period, the game certainly did not lack drama.  With 49 total combined shots, 28 in the second half, and 69 total combined fouls accompanied by 8 yellow card warnings, this game had it all.  Given Mass-Dartmouth (6-3-1) created the majority of dangerous chances while Roger Williams (9-1-2) committed a majority of the fouls during the crazy second half, the Corsairs were probably more deserving to collect the “W”.

#23 Montclair State 2, Rhode Island College 0 – There’s no question who was the better team, and early and late second half goals handed the newly ranked Montclair St. (9-1-2) the victory they easily deserved.  A NJAC showdown at Rutgers-Camden awaits them Saturday; the pairs stands one-two in the conference standings.

Guilford 2, Virginia Wesleyan 0 – The wheels have come off the Marlin’s cart.  After a promising start with a season opening win over York and then nearly toppling Christopher Newport (4-3 overtime loss) the next weekend, Virginia Wesleyan looked to be a competitive out for anybody.  But an 0-5-1 run in the past three weeks has them on life-support at the bottom of the ODAC table.

Wheaton (Ill.) 1, Aurora 0 – Another somewhat meaningless 1-0 non-conference win for Wheaton (6-5-1) who has now strung three victories together as they head into conference play.  Visiting Joe Bean stadium Saturday to kick off the CCIW season is their fellow pre-season co-favorites for the title, 14th ranked North Park.

Carthage 2, Chicago 1 – Two weeks ago Carthage was 3-4-0 while Chicago was 5-1-1.  But with Carthage’s improved results in the meantime, you couldn’t call a favorite for today’s game and through nearly 60 minutes of action the teams were deadlocked in a scoreless draw.  Then on the hour mark, Chicago (5-3-2) found the break through and in doing so changed the game.  Down a goal, the Red Men stepped up their game outshooting Chicago 9 to 3 the rest of the way, five on target to none for the Maroons, resulting in an equalizer with the clock showing less than 6 minutes remaining.  When Carthage (7-4-1) netted the game-winner 31 seconds from time on the third of three on-target shots in rapid succession, the victory seem merited.

Alvernia 2, Richard Stockton 0 – A largely uneventful first half was still a good one for Alvernia who converted their third shot attempt 2 minutes before the break for the 1-0 lead.  In near symmetry, the Crusaders doubled their advantage on their first shot of the second period, 3:30 after the restart.  Still a rather tame affair, the game opened up a little more with Stockton pressing to get back into the game, but it would end 2-0 giving Alvernia (8-2-1) a huge confidence boost as they head into the heart of their conference schedule with eyes on their first playoffs since moving into the Commonwealth Conference in 2009.   Stockton (7-4-1), on the other hand, continues to struggle and disappoint after their promising 5-1-0 start to the campaign, and needs to regroup to make sure they maitain their playoff positionin the NJAC.

Monday, October 3

No. 8 Amherst 4, Lesley 0 – Two goals in each half was a fair reflection of the imbalance in the two sides that both entered with sevens wins to their name. Amherst (8-0-0) remains one of three perfect teams thus far in 2011 as they finish their non-conference slate.  They have only NESCAC matches from here on out.

No. 24 Baldwin-Wallace 3, Capital 0 – That’s eleven straight wins, a new school record, for the Yellow Jackets (11-1-0 / 2-0-0), the last three by shutout but not really telling us much about the potential of this Baldwin-Wallace side.  So far, wins over Case Western and Allegheny are the only ones of note.

Rutgers-Newark 5, Medgar Evers 1 – Back-to-back wins over Redlands (away) and Merchant Marine (home) seem ages ago, but a straightforward defeat of winless Medgar Evers has Rutgers-Newark at 8-4-0.  


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Jim Matson, Christan Shirk, Ryan Harmanis, and other staff writers and contributors help cover the games and results across the nation.

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