Senior midfielder Tyler Witmer bests Howard’s goalie for the lone goal.
The men’s soccer team snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating Howard 1-0 last Saturday on the road in Washington, D.C. before heading into Atlantic Ten Conference competition.
Senior midfielder Tyler Witmer scored his second goal of the season and the game’s lone goal in the 39th minute of the first half. Witmer received the ball from freshman midfielder Willie Chalfant after a Bison turnover.
“It was a perfect ball through the defenders and the defense was caught off guard,” Witmer said. “Basically it ended up being me and the goalie and I just shot it for the back post.”
The Owls’ defense executed coach David MacWilliams’ game plan and held onto the lead for the remainder of the game. Sophomore goalkeeper Bobby Rosato did not face a shot on goal during the game, as he recorded his second shutout of the year.
With the Owls (4-5) set to open A-10 play with Richmond on Friday at Ambler, the team knew it needed to come away with a win against Howard (1-7-2) to gain momentum.
“We wanted to do two things,” MacWilliams said. “We wanted to win the game and make sure defensively we were sound. I think going into the A-10s we need to be defensively sound in order to win games because they’re going to be close games. So I think we accomplished two things today.”
In the recent losses for the Owls, the team’s defense had issues with staying under control, Rosato said. He added that the Owls’ defense was able to “stick together as a whole” during the win.
“I think that we were in a little funk for a while,” Rosato said. “But coming into [the A-10 schedule] with a win, with an upward slope, get momentum. I’m really confident about it. We got a little bit of our play back and I’m ready to go.”
While the Bison had two shots in the first half, the Owls stiffened their defense to not allow any shots from their opponent in the second half. On the attack, the Owls posted seven total shots in the match with three being shots on goal.
“I think the guys worked really hard and we were disciplined today and I think it was a good way to get back on track,” MacWilliams said. “We battled hard and I don’t think we gave up many chances today. We put up one in the first half. So I was pretty proud of the way the guys fought and they played very hard today.”
“The second half I think we did an excellent job of really controlling the game and they tried to play a lot of long balls over top and I think defensively we really did a great job,” MacWilliams added.
Offensively the Owls’ had five different players take shots. Junior midfielder Cody Calafiore made his first start back in the lineup since sustaining an injury in the Sept. 11 game at Brown.
“I think we’re still trying to find it,” Witmer said. “Obviously I don’t think we’re at our peak yet and again that’s a good thing because we want to hit our peak going into playoffs, so we still have a lot of work to do. But if we’re winning games then we’re doing our job.”
MacWilliams said the team played with discipline against the Bison and he added that the Owls regained their composure after some recently “frustrating games.”
“I think they kind of got back to the way we should be playing and how we’re capable of playing,” MacWilliams said. “I think today was a big step in that direction because you don’t want to have a losing streak going into the A-10s.”
Connor Showalter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.