HAVERFORD, Pa. - The Haverford College men's soccer team came up short in Saturday afternoon's contest between the last two Centennial Conference champions as the Fords fell, 3-1, to the visiting Red Devils at Walton Field.
After dropping the 2011 Centennial title game on penalty kicks to Dickinson, Haverford (7-3, 2-2 CC) captured victories in both meetings between the two clubs last season including a 1-0 win in the Centennial semifinals.
The defending conference champions looked to make it three straight over the Red Devils (8-2-1, 2-1-1) on Saturday but they faced an early deficit as Dickinson struck just four minutes into the contest. Senior Jamie Martin scored his third of the season off a header to stake the visitors to a 1-0 lead.
The resilient Fords fought back to tie the score before intermission when senior David Robinson sent the ball over to freshman Matthew Clausen on the right side of the box. Tallying his first collegiate goal, Clausen turned and fired the ball into the left corner of the net past Red Devils freshman goalie Jeremy Palcan with just under 15 minutes left on the clock.
Both squads continued to battle in the second half but the score remained deadlocked until the 56th minute when sophomore Braeden Kelly found some space and sent the ball past the reach of a diving Nick Kahn (7-3).
Searching for the equalizer, Haverford's attack produced four quality scoring chances over the next 11 minutes which forced Palcan to make three tough saves.
A corner kick by Robinson in the 88th minute gave the Fords one more opportunity for the tie but freshman Tejan Walcott's shot went just high to allow Dickinson to escape with the win.
Freshman Danny Sheppard accounted for the Red Devils' final margin of victory with his third of the season in the 89th minute.
Palcan (1-0-1) finished with five saves, including four in the second half, to earn the first win of his career.
Each team tallied 10 shots with Clausen matching his season high with four.
The physical game featured two of the top three scorers in the conference in Haverford's Ford Bohrmann and Dickinson's Derek Kachadurian but both went scoreless in the contest.
The Fords return to action on Wednesday when they take on host Rowan University in a non-conference contest beginning at 7 p.m. Haverford registered its first victory over Rowan in program history last season with a 3-1 victory over the Profs at Walton Field.