The Oglethorpe men's soccer team continued their unbeaten run to start the season Sunday afternoon in St. Mary's City, Maryland, as they defeated the Salisbury Sea Gulls 1-0 to improve to 4-0 on the year and sweep their games at the Seahawk Classic. The Stormy Petrels got an early goal from junior midfielder Ryan Marcano and made it stand up over the final 83 minutes of the game en route to the victory. The win gave Oglethorpe their first 4-0 start to a men's soccer season in their Division III history, and marked the first time the team has gone undefeated through their first four games since 2010, when they started 3-0-1.
The Petrels got the match off to an outstanding start, as Marcano took a pass from senior forward Devon Patterson and knocked it home in the seventh minute to give his team the 1-0 lead. It served as the second goal in as many games for Marcano, as well as his third of the season.
Oglethorpe continued to pour on the pressure from there, looking for the all-important second goal that would put them in complete control of the contest. They outshot the Sea Gulls 10-3 over the course of the opening 45 minutes, including 4-1 on goal. In addition, they took five corner kicks to Salisbury's one. Salisbury goalkeeper Trevor Brookhart made three saves in the half, though, keeping his team in the game.
The Sea Gulls played a more even second half, outshooting the Petrels 4-3 over the period, and putting three shots on target to Oglethorpe's one. However, senior goalkeeper Luke Whelan made three big saves over the final 45 minutes, keeping his team in the lead. Whelan and the Petrel defense held on in the end, securing the 1-0 victory and the sweep of the Seahawk Classic.
Oglethorpe wound up outshooting Salisbury 13-7 overall, including a 5-4 mark in shots on goal. The Petrels took six corner kicks to Salisbury's three, as well. Whelan finished with four total saves as he improved to 4-0 on the season. He delivered a clean sheet for the two-day event, not allowing a goal over 180 minutes of play.
"We played a couple of defensive teams this weekend, and give them credit, they didn't make it easy on us," said Oglethorpe head coach Jon Akin. "However, I thought we did a good job of grinding out goals and picking up a couple of victories. Credit goes to Luke and our back line, who all played exceptionally well this weekend. Picking up a clean sheet over 180 minutes isn't easy, and it was an impressive performance. I like the fact that we've been able to win games in a variety of ways so far, and I think that'll bode well as we head further into our schedule."
The Petrels will now return to campus for their home opener Wednesday evening against Truett McConnell. That game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. After that, the Petrels will welcome No. 19 Lynchburg to the Oglethorpe Track and Field Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. in a rematch of a back-and-forth contest that finished 2-2 in 2016.