"Perfect storm" has rained on Washington College
Washington’s season began shakily and went downhill from there.
As they prepare for another installment of the War on the Shore series with No. 2 Salisbury on Saturday, the Shoremen are 4-9. Along the way, they had to overcome a hazing incident in January and the loss of key players at three critical positions.
"It’s kind of been the perfect storm," coach J.B. Clarke said. "We had an off-field incident to start the year. And then the top player on each position on our team has gone down with a season-ending injury. We’ve had at, any given time, 13 or more players that couldn’t play because they were injured. That’s not to make excuses. We haven’t played well. Most of the guys who will play Saturday are freshmen and sophomores, and they’re taking the place of guys who are injured or they’re a little better than the guys at that position. This is not an experienced team. For most of these guys, this will be their first time in the War on the Shore."
Washington has lost senior attackman Brendan O’Leary (21 goals and 10 assists last year), who registered four goals and two assists in six starts before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee; sophomore defenseman Jack Vermeil, who compiled 10 groundballs and five caused turnovers in six starts before undergoing surgery on his wrist; and sophomore goalkeeper Peter Stewart, who owned a .557 save percentage and a 9.16 goals-against average in four starts before dislocating his ankle.
A dislocated shoulder and a sprained ankle have slowed sophomore face-off specialist Stephen Evans. And Clarke said freshman goalie Matt Miller and a close defense of freshmen Michael Pierandri and Matt Torr and sophomore Bryan Botti will start against Salisbury.
As frustrating as this season has been, Clarke said he’s trying to step back and look at the big picture.
"You have to take a step back and recognize the age and experience of the guys playing out there," he said. "I really enjoy this team. We’re 4-9, and that’s not acceptable around here obviously. But they’re a terrific group of kids, and they have not quit. From the outside looking in, you’re probably thinking, ‘When are they going to give in?’ And they haven’t. … So it’s not hard to like this group of young men because they continue to give everything that they have."