(September 27, 2008) HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA – Hampden-Sydney took a tough 4-2 loss to ODAC foe Virginia Wesleyan despite battling to stay in the game. The match was evenly played from the beginning as both teams fought to gain control. Wesleyan's Brandon Massie would be the first player to start the scoring as he found himself at point blank range and fired the shot that put the Marlins up 1-0 in the 14th minute.
The Tigers, however, kept their composure and fought back. Just nine minutes after falling behind, senior Jason Powell (Marietta, GA/Pope) played a nice cross that keeper Ryan Zmuda could not handle; as he dropped it, freshman Bryan Wharton (Glen Allen, VA/Deep Run) was there to finish and bring the game back to a tie.
Unfortunately for the Tigers it did not take long for the Marlins to respond and break the tie. In the 33rd minute, Virginia Wesleyan found an opening when John McKenzie was able to find Jason Malkiewicz who knocked the ball out of the reach of a diving John Robert Plyler (Charlotte, NC/Myers Park).
Though the Marlins regained the lead, the Tigers' scrappy, aggressive play kept them in the game. Less than two minutes after Malkiewicz scored, Powell returned the favor getting a goal of his own as he stayed strong with three defenders around him and blasted the ball to the back of the net re-tying the game at 2-2.
The second half of play would start out very evenly played with both teams still fighting hard to break the tie. The Marlins looked as if they were going to dominate early, but the tough play of Christopher Tait (Nokesville, VA/Brentsville) and Matt Swaney (Potomac Falls, VA/Potomac Falls) limited the Marlins' shots. Sophomore defender Sam Turner (Richmond, VA/Benedictine) also gave the Marlins no room to breath in the air as he won almost every head ball that came his way.
The Tigers were able to hold off Virginia Wesleyan up until the 71st minute as Massie caught the ball on the run with nobody but Plyler in front of him. Massie was able to finish and give the Marlins their third lead of the game at 3-2.
It only took the Marlins 6 more minutes to add a cushion with a Clay Price goal.
The Tigers, though, kept fighting and kept looking for a chance to come back as they had done twice in the first half. Hampden-Sydney had a chance to cut the lead to one with senior Michael Krewinghaus (Yorktown, VA/Tabb) taking a penalty kick, but Zmuda made a great save to keep the Tigers at two goals. JoJo Howard (Lanexa, VA/New Kent) and Wharton would also have chances, but the Tigers just could not find the net in the second half and drop to 5-3-0 overall and 1-1-0 in the ODAC.
The Tigers will return to action on Wednesday the 1st as they face the Eagles of Bridgewater College at home on Miller Field at 4 pm.