TOWSON, Md. — The goal Goucher scored to earn a 1-0 Landmark Conference victory over Scranton today was the result of contributions from at least three different players. But that goal might not have been as important in the outcome had sophomore Scott Mt. Pleasant (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) not made a magnificent defensive play in the eighth minute or freshman goalkeeper Daniel Hendry (Lewisburg, Pa./Lewisburg) not turned in a six-save performance.
The starting goalkeepers for both team had already made a save when it appeared as though the Royals (6-4-1, 2-1-1 Landmark), who began the day in sole possession of second place in the conference, were ablout to take a lead on a header by Tim DiBisceglie, but Mt. Pleasant managed at the last possible second to head the ball out of harm's way to keep the game scoreless.
There would be no scoring in the opening 45 minutes, despite an 11-2 advantage in shots by Scranton.
The Royals continued to apply offensive pressure in the second half, unleashing 12 shots compared to just one by the Gophers (4-7-1, 1-3 Landmark). But while the visitors had one shot bang dangerously off the crossbar in the 55th minute and five others turned away by Hendry, head coach Bryan Laut's squad capitalized on its one scoring opportunity in the 68th minute.
The play on which Goucher scored began with a long throw that was cleared to the top of the box. Jeremy Hardy (Brooklyn, N.Y./The Beacon School) held the ball, turned his man and played the ball wide to Ryan Mathews (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central), who in turn played a one-time ball to the back post where a streaking Ellis Martin (Verona, N.J./Verona) got on the end of it.
Hendry bunched three of his saves into the final 12 minutes of the contest.
"I have to give the guys a ton of credit for their performance and heart today," said Laut. "We played an extremely talented Scranton team and gave everything we had for 90 minutes. In order to win league games, you need effort, passion, and fight, but ultimately players need to step up and make big plays. Our back four and Daniel Hendry were phenomenal and the combination of Hardy, Mathews and Martin made a huge play on the attacking end to get us what we needed.
"This is a great step in the right direction for our young team and now we need to use the knowledge we gained in this game to continue to take the next steps this season."
Washington (Md.) pays a visit to Beldon Field on Wednesday at 4 p.m.