Men’s soccer looks strong for NCAA

Williams soccer defeated two more opponents this week to bring their record to 12-1, which all but guarantees the Ephs a place in the NCAA Division III tournament. On Saturday, Williams traveled to face the Camels of Connecticut College and came away with a resounding 3-0 victory, with all three goals coming in the second half. Earlier in the week, the Ephs hosted Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and won 2-0.

The Eph performance at Connecticut College this weekend was clinical. From the opening whistle, Williams hounded their opponent, outmatching them in skill and, most notably, speed. Williams outshot Connecticut College 18-4, and the defense was once again impenetrable, recording their eighth straight shutout of the year.

The Camels staved off the relentless Williams attack in the first half, but that was more the result of imprecise finishing by the Eph forwards than the Camel defense itself. The lack of finishing plagued the Ephs well into the second half. Finally, at the 20-minute mark, midfielder Shawn Boberg ’00, playing in his first match after recovering from a knee injury, received a powerful cross inside the 18-yard box from Dorian Baker ’01 and placed a perfect strike into the far post. “It’s amazing, actually. A few weeks ago I didn’t know if I’d play again this season. Now I’m scoring goals,” said Boberg about his goal.

The goal seemed to deflate the Camels, and the Ephs went for the jugular, scoring two more goals in the next 6 minutes. The second goal of the match came off a corner kick from Steve Danbusky ’99, who swerved a ball inside the 6-yard box that keeper Eric Bauer was unable to handle. First-year midfielder Richard Bode put himself in perfect position to head the rebound off Bauer into the net.

Bauer, possibly disheartened by the second goal, made a crucial error on the third when he badly muffed a goal kick to crafty forward Ted Giannacopolous ’02, who dribbled straight at the Camel goal and slipped the ball past Bauer to bring the final score to 3-0.

On Wednesday, Williams defeated cross-town rival Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 2-0. The Ephs were heavy favorites, but the Mohawks from North Adams proved to be worthy opponents, playing Williams to a scoreless tie in the first half.

Williams’ first goal came early in the second half, after an opportunistic strike by John Tremontozzi ’00, off a Steve Danbusky ’99 corner kick. Tremontozzi was in top form all afternoon, creating havoc for the Mohawk defense with three near-miss headers and several penetrating runs. His goal took the steam out of the opposing attack, and the Mohawks collapsed into a defensive shell for the remainder of the game.

This did not, however, prevent the Ephs from striking again at the 28-minute mark of the second half. Giannacopolous controlled a rebound off a Danbusky corner and volleyed a hard shot into the roof of the Mohawk goal to cap off another solid Eph performance.

The most impressive aspect of the Williams squad this year has been their defense, which has not allowed a goal in eight consecutive games. Part of this success is attributable to excellent team speed, which defenders Matt Magiera ’00, Marc Williams ’02, Will Ouimette ’01, and Jon Ilgen ’99, have used to shut down opposing forwards. This has helped out goalkeepers Ryan Spicer ’01, and Neal Appleman ’00, who have been superb between the posts all year.

Williams now boasts a 12-1 record heading into the final game of the regular season against Wesleyan. The match, which will take place this Saturday at 11 on Cole Field, is sure to be another classic Homecoming battle for supremacy in the Little Three.