The Owl men's soccer team can attribute their slow start to the season on the fact that the team has only two returning sophomores and 19 freshmen. Currently, the team has a (0-1) record after losing their preseason scrimmage and first game of the season to Salisbury University (3-0) and Richard Bland (4-1) respectively. Both games have been an eye opener for the players as they work overtime to build team chemistry while learning each other's tendencies on the field.
The game against Richard bland started slow, with both teams battling to gain control of the midfield. The Owl's men were able to get the first meaningful possession and shot on target but were unable to break the deadlock. Richard Bland responded with numerous counter attacks and was able to open the scoring in the 19th minute after a miscommunication between goalkeeper Christopher Lampkins and central defender Gildrit Monkam. Forward Godfred Oben-Baisel was able to capitalize on the indecision of both players to put Richard Bland in the lead. He later doubled the lead in the 32nd minute when he pounced on a poor clearance and slot a left footed shot to the far post that zipped past Lamkins outstretched arms. The half ended with the Statesmen holding a 2-0 lead.
The players from Prince George's Community College started the second half flat and gave up another easy goal with only two minutes played. Richard Bland with a 3-0 lead over the Owls, were content to sit back and absorb the pressure that followed. With this, desperation kicked in and the owls were forced to send more men forward. This seemed to work as they were able to pull one back in the 53rd minute after Ramario Chapman was able to split the defense with a precise pass down the middle that left Mecardo Knight wide open to slot one in at the near post. This gave the Owl players momentum and seven minutes later they were awarded a penalty kick after Glodo Melendez was fouled in the penalty box. Chapman stepped up to the spot but was unable to convert the kick.
With time running out and down two goals, the Owls had no choice but to send even more players into the attack in search of another goal. Unlike earlier success, Melendez went down in the penalty box again but was shown a yellow card for intentional diving. Unfortunately, this was his second card of the game and they had to play a man down the rest of the way. With both teams going back and forth, the Statesmen were finally able to score another in the 89th minute to put the game to rest.
The Owls will be in search of their first win this weekend when they travel to New York to compete in the East Coast Cup. They will face off against Brookdale and Tompkins Cortland Community Colleges on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
By Machel Millwood