(October 8, 2008)HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA – Hampden-Sydney came into halftime for the second straight game in a scoreless tie, but the Tigers returned to scoring mode in the second half of play to propel themselves to a 2-1 win over Eastern Mennonite University.
Though the Tigers struggled to find the net in the first half of play, they continually put pressure on keeper Jackson Maust and the rest of the Royals defense blasting seven shots. Freshman Bryan Wharton (Glen Allen, VA/Deep Run) and junior Will Robertson (Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Catholic) both hoisted great looks at the goal, but Maust, who had an outstanding first half, was there to stop every attempt.
Eastern Mennonite also had chances of their own in the first half, with Jay Shearer blasting a shot in the 42nd minute. Fortunately for the Tigers, Shearer's shot went just high of the goal.
As the second half of play began, Hampden-Sydney looked much more aggressive and began to get chances earlier. Much of this up-tempo play was led by freshman Bryan Hughes (Midlothian, VA/Cosby) who played outstanding, hustling to every ball and pressuring every defender. With Hughes helping lead the attack, Hampden-Sydney found itself with a golden opportunity. In the 57th minute, the ball was being batted around and landed right in front of an open Jason Butler (Richmond, VA/Mills Godwin). Butler calmly collected the ball and pushed it right past Maust for the first goal of the day.
The Royals tried to respond as Trip Henning sprinted the length of the field and dropped the ball off to Cory Parsons. Parsons unloaded a shot at point blank range, but was stopped short by a great save from keeper John Robert Plyler (Charlotte, NC/Myers Park).
The momentum from Plyler's huge save carried over and Hampden-Sydney was able to find the net again as Wharton blasted a shot that missed, but sophomore Matt Swaney (Potomac Falls, VA/Potomac Falls) was right there with the follow up giving the Tigers the 2-0 lead.
Though they were down 2-0, the Royals would respond. Eastern Mennonite could not get past the Tiger defense for the first 77 minutes of the game, but Regulo Cardoso was able blast through the Tiger rampart when he flicked the ball just past Plyler to put the Royals on the board and cut the lead to one.
In a close 2-1 game, the Tigers were able to hold on to their lead for the final 12 minutes. The Tigers were greatly helped by junior defender Brett Chonko (Farmville, VA/Prince Edward). Chonko frustrated the Eastern Mennonite forwards the whole game as he was always there to stop the attack. The Royals only got off nine shots on the day greatly due to the all around great play and tenacity of Chonko.
The Tigers also saw great play from sophomore Matt Hampton (Virginia Beach, VA/Kellam) in the midfield, who did an excellent job of controlling the ball and not letting the Royals get in any rhythm.
With the win the Tigers improve to 7-3-1 overall and 3-1-1 in the ODAC.
Hampden-Sydney will resume action at home against the Wildcats of Randolph College this Saturday the 11th. The game will be played on Miller Field and is set to start at 3pm.