Review & preview: Washington
Here is the fourth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division III programs in the state to evaluate the past and offer a glimpse into the future. Tuesday, we take a visit with Washington.
The good: The Shoremen made slight progress from 2010, going 5-9 from 4-10, averaging 7.9 goals from 7.8, and surrendering 10.0 goals per game from 10.4. Coach Jeff Shirk, who completed his inaugural season at Washington, said he was more impressed with the team’s demeanor and work ethic. “I got a good feeling after the season because I liked the way the guys played,” Shirk said. “They played hard, they were physical, they gave us a chance to be in almost every game that we played. I think we had some hiccups along the way, some youthful growing pains, and I think that accounted for our four one-goal losses and a two-goal loss. I think if we move forward and continue to play hard and work hard but with a little more experience and better decision-making, I’m excited about the strides that we made this year.” … The offense continued to evolve despite the loss of starting senior midfielder Doug Herdegen, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in a 9-8 loss to Ursinus on April 6. Seven different players registered at least 14 points each, and five different players scored at least 10 goals each. “I think that just shows that we spread things out,” Shirk said. “… One guy would step up and then the next day, another guy would step up. Some guys, especially our freshmen, had ups and downs, where for some games, they showed up, and for other games, they just weren’t there. I think that’s going to bode well for the future, too, because we don’t rest everything on one guy’s shoulders. It’s everybody playing their part.” … The offense got more opportunities courtesy of an improved effort in clears. Washington successfully cleared 81.4 percent of the time, which is 7.2 percent better than last year’s showing. “We really focused hard on the clearing game because one of the things we stressed was not giving second-chance opportunities,” Shirk said. “So it might have just been a thing to the guys where it was new to them last year. With more practice this year, they understood it a little bit better. Maybe we explained it in a couple different ways where it clicked with them. But the guys definitely did a good job in the clearing game.”