Hamilton, Westfield State no match for the Ephs

In an intense and hard-fought match, the Williams College men’s soccer team defeated the Hamilton College Eagles 3-0 in Hamilton, New York. Hamilton, with a new coach, hungry players and a boisterous crowd, demonstrated a gritty determination that created a closer match than the score would indicate. Senior Nick Trebat, who scored two goals, led the Ephs. The Ephs also beat Westfield State 2-1 in double overtime as a result of a goal scored by Mike Cortese ’01.

Trebat opened the scoring at the 15-minute mark, assisted by Ted Gianna-copolous ’02. Captain Dan Pozen ’99 took possession of the ball and passed to Giannacopolous on the right wing. The first-year burst past his defender and darted toward a dangerous goal-line position. With Eph forwards Trebat and Angelo Patentas ’99 closing into the Hamilton box, Giannacopolous whipped a low cross in front of Hamilton’s goal. Patentas, seeing that his teammate was in a slightly better position, cleared away from the area, bringing two Eagle defenders with him and opening a beautiful shooting lane for the onrushing Trebat. Trebat capitalized on the intelligent work of his teammates by placing the ball into the far corner of the net.

Hamilton did not collapse after the early goal and played with a fiery bravado that stifled the Eph attack for the remainder of the first half. Excellent central defending by Matt Magiera ’00 and Mark Williams ’02, thwarted the few chances created by the Hamilton attack. “They played a few dangerous balls into our area, but in general I think we contained them pretty well in the first half,” Magiera said.

Following halftime and a few choice words by Williams head coach Mike Russo, the Ephs began the second half pressuring the Hamilton goalkeeper Peter Donato. Trebat broke through early with his second goal of the game. Richard Bode ’02, who contributed a solid game in the midfield in the absence of standout midfielder and team captain Stephen Danbusky ’99, intercepted an Eagle pass on the right side of the field and played a ball to Eph wing defender Will Ouimet ’01. Ouimet, seeing Trebat in the penalty area, wasted no time in delivering a perfectly timed ball in behind the Hamilton defense. Trebat pounced on the cross and volleyed the ball into the near post. “It was a great pass by Willie. The sweeper was a few steps behind me but with the ball traveling that fast he didn’t have a chance,” Trebat said.

The Ephs, shrugging off the pressure from the Hamilton players and a very partisan crowd, sealed the victory with a goal from Giannacopolous in the game’s final minutes. After a long clear from the crowded Eph penalty box by Nick Swan ’99, Giannacopolous controlled the ball and streaked past the lone Hamilton defender and directly at goalie Donato, who had little chance at stopping the blistering shot. Eph goalie Neal Appleman ’00 notched three saves and his first shutout of the year.

The victory against Hamilton was Williams’ second of the season. The first win came in the season opener against the Owls of Westfield State. Williams, battling against the unfamiliar artificial turf at Westfield, struggled as it took 20 minutes of sudden-death overtime play to overcome both the conditions and Westfield’s inspired defensive play.

The match remained scoreless after an Eph-dominated first half. Early in the second half, Williams seemed on its way to an easy victory as Giannacopolous dribbled through several Owl defenders to give the Ephs a 1-0 advantage. The Owl midfield, however, led by senior Chris Machado, displayed a relentless work rate and stymied the Ephs momentum.

At the 30-minute mark of the second half, the frustrated Eph defense conceded their first goal of the season. Midfielder Machado played a driven ball into the penalty box that caught the Eph defenders off-guard. Matt Magiera, marking an Owl attacker, was surprised to see the ball skimming behind him on the fast turf. He attempted to deflect the ball, but was only able to flick it upward with his heel. The ball landed at the feet of a loosely-marked Owl forward, who turned and struck the ball, leaving Eph goalkeeper Neal Appleman with no chance at a save.

After 90 minutes, the Ephs were unable to break the 1-1 tie, paving the way for an intense sudden-death overtime. The Ephs controlled the first 15-minute overtime, but did not capitalize on their many goal-scoring opportunities. Following a five-minute interval and inspiring words from Russo, the Ephs took the field for what would be a brief overtime. Mike Cortese, hindered by a serious bone bruise, finished off the Owls with a brilliant 30-yard free kick. Said Cortese following the emotional victory: “I was just hoping to bend it around the far post. I had a good feeling about it. . .and the celebration was on.”

The Ephs now boast a 2-0 record and will begin a four game homestand against Union on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

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