Soccer Week Four Preview

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA - The Tiger soccer team will square-off with the Panthers of Ferrum College at home on Miller Field on Wednesday at 4 p.m. then travel to Lexington, VA, on Saturday for a 1 p.m. Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) contest against the Generals of Washington & Lee University.

The Tigers have had an up-and-down season thus far. H-SC opened the season with two blowout victories over Berkeley and Shenandoah at home. One the Tigers hit the road, they lost their next three contests against Mary Washington, Maryville (TN), and Virginia Wesleyan. H-SC returned home this past Saturday for a W over Greensboro College, who defeated Roanoke College 2-0 on Sunday.

The offense has naturally regressed back to the mean after scoring 13 goals in the first two contests. With the shot opportunities being more at a premium against the quality teams on the upcoming schedule, finishing strong scoring opportunities will be pivotal. Thus far, the Tigers leading goal scorer is not Bryan Wharton (Glen Allen, VA) or Nick DeProspero (Midlothian, VA/Cosby) like many would guess. It is in fact freshman James Lawrence (Midlothian, VA/Midlothian) with three strikes, two of the game-winning variety, on just six shots. Making big waves for the Tigers defensively has been Duncan Oliphant (Annapolis, MD/Annapolis). A little used backup in his first three seniors, he has made a name for himself as a senior. Oliphant sports just a 0.67 goals against average with an outstanding 85.7% save percentage. Additionally, he has faced two penalty kicks this year and has saved each one, once against Virginia Wesleyan and once against Greensboro.

Ferrum has experienced struggles this year, boasting just a 2-4-1 record. The Wasps had battled four ODAC opponents, coming out with a 1-3 record. Ferrum lost by a combined score of 10-1 against Emory & Henry, Bridgewater, and and Randolph but prevailed over Randolph-Macon 1-0. It's other win was 3-1 over LaGrange. The offense has had difficulties putting the ball in the net, having tallied just six goals, but getting off shots hasn't been a big issue as they have registered 82 total shots for 11.7 shots per game. Asa Fox leads the team with three goals, Eddy Funes has two, and Stuart Bennett has scored once.

Washington & Lee is likewise struggling this season. They opened the season with a bang, defeating Bluefield College 4-0, but since then they have lost three of their last four contests and registered a scoreless tie in the other game. They tied Randolph-Macon 0-0 on Wednesday and lost 2-1 to Randolph-Macon this past weekend. Today, they will face Eastern Mennonite.

The Generals offense has sputtered since their opening victory, having scoring just twice since then. Six different players have scored all six of their goals. Just like Ferrum, firing off shots hasn't been an issue either - they are averaging 14 shots a game and had 22 in the double overtime scoreless tie with R-MC.

Even though they currently have a team goals against average of 1.40, starting goalkeeper Ben Petitto fares much better at 0.71 along with a 83.3% save percentage. He has played every minute in all but one contest as he did not play in the 4-1 loss to DeSales.