The Shippensburg University men’s soccer team opened the 2016 season with a dominating win over Shepherd on Thursday night by a score of 3-0.
The Raiders were in Shepherd University territory for the majority of the game, constantly creating opportunities through the flanks from players like Isiah Dorsey, who was extremely impressive in his debut for the team, finishing with two assists on the day. Coach Spering said after the game that Dorsey, “…always wants to learn, always wants to improve” and has soaked everything up like a sponge since joining the team last season.
Dorsey was involved in the first goal for the Raiders, which came only 23 minutes into the game. SU had been putting constant pressure on the Shepherd defense since the starting whistle, and it paid off when Dorsey came down the left flank and fired a perfect through ball to the feet of senior Collin McConnell who fired it past the Shepherd goalie for a lead the Raiders would hold for the rest of the game. The pressure continued right after the goal, but Shepherd held SU to that one goal for the first half.
SU immediately applied pressure to the Rams defense in the second half and notched its second goal only 12 minutes in. The Raiders were awarded a throw-in deep in Shepherd’s territory, when Senior Colten Arnold launched the ball into the box and another senior, Tyler Whitehead, jumped into the air and headed the ball into the net. It was Whitehead’s second goal of his career and it put the game out of reach for Shepherd University.
The defense was stellar the entire game. “We didn’t provide too many gaps for them to exploit” and we were “very solid…compact, very organized,” Spering said.
Shepherd only had two quality scoring opportunities in the game. The Shepherd goalie was so frustrated by the amount of possession that SU had in his half that he could be heard yelling at his teammates to push the ball forward and try to narrow the margin. But, Shepherd could not get anything going for the whole game. Colten Arnold rounded out the scoring with a goal of his own to go along with his earlier assist in the 86th minute. Once again, it was Dorsey who created all the problems and sent a pass to Arnold who smashed it into the net. It was a great finish to a dominant performance to open the season. When asked what differences he saw in the team as opposed to last season, Spering said that they were more attack-minded and they were able to capitalize on their chances.
It was a much different story on Saturday, when the team travelled to East Stroudsburg University to take on the Warriors. It was the Warriors’ first game of the season, and they tested the Raiders a throughout the game. SU was outshot 21-7 during the match, but the game was somehow scoreless through regular time, so the game headed to overtime.
It took less than two minutes for the Raiders to score the winning goal— a header by Jan Striewe off of a corner kick. Arnold assisted on the play, giving him a goal and two assists through the first two contests. Goalkeeper Garret Watson did a great job throughout the game, tallying seven saves and keeping his team in the game. The Raiders, will be back in action Wednesday, when they travel to face Holy Family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.