September 15, 2013

Week 3 Flybys, weekend edition

By Christan Shirk

In what surely will be a rare escape from "the hanger" this season, we will run down a variety of results from across the nation, "flybys" if you will, with comments that hopefully are informative, insightful, and interesting. The intent is to give snapshots of the D-III soccer landscape, covering top teams and important high profile matches but also going off the beaten path as much as possible as we criss-cross the country.

Wheaton traveled to Augsburg, escaping with a 1-0 victory.
Photo by Ryan Coleman,

Friday, September 13

No. 17 Franklin & Marshall 0, Elizabethtown 0 - While the tie won't help the Diplomats (4-0-1) case for a higher ranking, that does make for five straight shutouts to open the 2013 season. Only two other teams have yet to yield a goal, but neither have logged as many minutes. Though the Top 25 voters only seemed mildly impressed, Franklin & Marhsall did match top-ranked Messiah in weeks one and two, swapping opponents both weekends and emerging with an identical 4-0 record and identical +9 goal difference as the defending champions. The difference was Messiah outshot their opponents by a larger margin while the Diplomat defense kept four clean sheets to Messiah's two.

No. 9 Ohio Northern 3, Berry 0 - The 2012 semifinalist is a perfect 6-0 which comes as a slight surprise, even if the slate of opponents has been fairly weak. Given how much the Polar Bears lost to graduation (seven 3- or 4-year starters), it would have been reasonable to expect some inconsistency and struggles, especially in the opening few weeks. Friday's 3-2 overtime win versus visiting Albion, in which they gave up their lead twice, might be evidence of just that. Wednesday's clash with Ohio Wesleyan will be their first real measuring stick.

No. 20 Texas-Dallas 3, Austin 0 - The Comets (4-0-1) dominated the Kangaroos for their fourth win. If their defense could have held on for an additional 73 seconds at Trinity (Tx.) last weekend, they'd be a perfect and deserved 5-0. For the moment, Texas-Dallas is top dog in the Lone Star state while Trinity has ten days off to lick their wounds from an atypical 2-2-1 stumble off the starting blocks.

No. 3 Ohio Wesleyan 3, Heidelberg 0 - For the third time in six games, the Battling Bishops have conceded a pair of goals. Despite another strong offensive showing, they allowed the visiting Student Princes (3-1-0) two game-tying tallies and required an extra 12 minutes of play to gain the win. Their record may be perfect (6-0-0), but their defense has been suspect thus far. Last weekend at home, overtime was required on Friday to dispatch of a struggling Christopher Newport (2-2-1) after the Bishops' 2-1 advantage was erased with eight minutes to play, and Saturday they lost two first-half leads to Colorado (0-2-2) before rolling the road-weary visitors in the second half.

No. 19 Wheaton (Ill.) 1, No. 25 Augsburg 0 - In the first Top 25 clash following the 2013 debut of the rankings, the Thunder (3-2-0) got back in the win column after two straight defeats as they handed the Auggies (3-1-1) their first loss of the season. Expectations were high for Wheaton who returned ten starters from last year's Elite 8 squad, but their offense was stymied by Chicago (3-1-0) and Hope (4-1-1) resulting in the pair of losses even if overall they played well enough to earn a tie and a win.  Augsburg was coming off a 2-1 victory last Saturday that brought Luther (3-1-0) back to earth after the Norse stunned host Trinity (Tx.) 2-0 in their season opener and completed the Texas-double over Southwestern the next day. 

Saturday, September 14

No. 8 Brandeis 5, Clark 0 - With earlier wins over MIT and Babson, the Judges (6-0-0) are still on track to enter conference play undefeated for the second straight season. However, Tufts stands in their way next weekend and it's too early to say if Brandeis is the favorite in what could be a six- or seven-team battle for top spot in the UAA.

Susquehanna 1, No. 4 York (Pa.) 0 - After losing nine straight years from 2003 to 2011 in this annual non-conference tilt, the Crusaders (4-1-0) have now taken two in row from the Spartans (4-1-0). The win, their fourth in a row after dropping the season opener that they dominated, gives notice that last year's Top 25 ranking and Sweet 16 run was not a fluke nor a one-off. It's unclear what compelled voters to rank York so high in the first Top 25; they were and remain a big question mark for me.

No. 18 Carnegie Mellon 1, Allegheny 0 - Thanks to poor shooting, that's a fifth 1-0 victory and six straight one-goal games for the Tartans (5-1-0) who's domination in most of their games has not been reflected on the scoreboard. Nevertheless, it's a 5-1-0 start that was 8 seconds from being an undefeated 5-0-1 start.

No. 13 Rutgers-Camden 2, No. 16 Salisbury 1 - In just the second Top 25 clash since the first rankings of the year were released, the Scarlet Raptors emerged victorious. In doing so, they match their best perfect start to a season (7-0, 2008) and join DePauw as the first teams to seven wins in 2013. Rutgers-Camden is responsible for the only loss suffered by Muhlenberg (4-1-0), Eastern (4-1-0), and Salisbury (5-1-0) to date, and they probably have the best early season resume in the nation while the Sea Gulls lose in their first real test after a pretty easy opening five games. Also, congratulation to Raptor's head coach Tim Oswald on notching his 100th creer win in their season opener.

Birmingham-Southern 2, LeTourneau 1 - It hasn't been a schedule of opponents that will earn them a Top 25 ranking, but the Panthers have raised their record to 5-0. Whether this means they will be challenging Centre and Oglethorpe for the second-ever SAA title is yet to be seen.

No. 12 Dickinson 3, Alvernia 0 - With this victory the Red Devils stand at 5-0 heading into their annual encounter with Messiah. After a wild season-opening 5-3 win over Catholic, Dickinson seems to have quickly found midseason form, out-playing the teams they should and scoring the goals that reflect that advantage. And in the game they may have been outplayed by Carnegie Mellon, they still found a way to win, scoring with eight ticks left on the second overtime clock, five minutes after being reduced to 10 men.

Trinity (Conn.) 2, No. 7 Williams 1 - The Ephs' struggles to light up the scoreboard last year (1.6 GPG) seem to only have increased in the early going this year (one goal scored each game). In 2012 they managed to ride their defense and stellar goaltending to an unlikely Final Four appearance as they only twice conceded two goals, the latter being their semifinal exit. It was always improbable that the same formula would yield the same finish in 2013, but if their goalscoring doesn't pick up they don't stand a chance. The Bantums' perfect start (3-0-0) has them even with NESCAC rivals Amherst and Tufts.

Gordon 3, WNEC 2 - After staking out a 2-0 lead after 25 minutes, the Fighting Scots (5-0-0) needed a late goal to get by the Golden Bears (3-2-0) as CCC action opened. Gordon is one of the surprises of the young season; this time last year they were 1-3-1 with a -5 goal difference. 12 goals better than their opponents in 2013, the Scots may be in the mix for the CCC title again as they were in 2010 and 2011. Their attack is led by senior Kellen Kasiguran (5g, 2a), sibling of 2007 Division III Player of the Year, Kai Kasiguran (Messiah).

No. 14 DePauw 3, Principia 0 - That makes 555 straight shutout minutes for the Tiger defense, having yielded just one goal late in their season opener. Their 7-0 mark is only equalled by Rutgers-Camden, however, by any measure, DePauw's schedule could be described as a cake-walk while the Camden squad has faced some challenges. While that makes it difficult to know how good DePauw is, remaining undefeated through to their clash with Ohio Wesleyan on October 12 seems a realistic possibility.

Puget Sound 3, Southwestern 0 - The Pirates (3-4-0) have discovered that not all away games are created equal. After winning a back-to-back in-state road games, including the upset of Trinity (Tx.) mid-week, Southwestern has been dealt consecutive 3-0 defeats up in Tacoma, WA, first by Pacific Lutheran (5-0-1) and now by the Loggers (2-3-0).

Hope 3, No. 11 Dominican 0 - A week ago when the Stars (2-2-0) pushed their advantage to 3-0 soon after halftime on the road at Washington U., it appeared another typical three-loss or less season lay ahead. But in the subsequent 218 minutes, Dominican has conceded seven goals against a single tally of their own, dropping two home games this week. After a lousy opening weekend, the Flying Dutchmen (4-1-1) have now posted two big wins in the space of a week, having stolen all three points against Wheaton (Ill.) last Saturday.

Potsdam State 2, RPI 1 - This road victory ranks among the Bears'(5-2-0) biggest wins ever as they beat a decent RPI side (4-2-0) for the first time in five tries. The last non-conference result of this magnitude would be their 1-0 defeat of visiting St. Lawrence in 2005.

No. 10 Loras 2, Carroll 1 - Another unimpressive result for the Duhawks (5-0-2), who have been inconsistent thus far. They clearly have not been able to adequately compensate for the absence of injured All-American midfielder Kevin Cavers, but a win is a win when things aren't clicking. Loras is still undefeated and still the region's team to beat with the early struggles of Dominican, Wheaton (Ill.) and others.

No. 1 Messiah 2, Catholic 1 - The defending champion Falcons have now conceded four goals in six games (only one which can be considered inconsequential) against opponents with a combined 11-17-2 record so far in 2013. Hardly impressive, but they do stay perfect at 6-0. The number 1 ranking will have been earned (not sure it has been to date) if they handle their next three opponents: at No. 12 Dickinson (5-0-0), vs. No. 5 Montclair St. (6-0-0), at No. 4 York (4-1-0).


Comments or feedback for the author?  Email Christan Shirk.

Christan Shirk


Christan Shirk is a Messiah College graduate (1993, Civil Engineering) and has been a keen and passionate observer of D-III soccer for over a decade. Never more than a rec-league player himself, Chris brings an analytical approach and nationwide perspective to He loves D-III soccer history, statistical number-crunching, and off-the-radar action, all of which he gladly shares with his readers when he's able to find time to write.

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