The men’s soccer team began the week on a high note, ranked first in the nation in Division III, and ended it on another high note with a huge win Sunday over 17th ranked Keene State.
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon as the men’s soccer team rumbled with Keene on Cole Field. An intense matchup in which both teams fought until the end finished with the Ephs on top 3-0 in their second shutout this season. Improving its record to 4-0, Williams put forth a team effort and played some of its best soccer against a feisty Keene State team.
The game was scoreless well into the first half as both teams played aggressive defense. “We came out a bit nervous in the first half but settled down about midway through,” said team captain Matt Magiera ’00. Settling down paid off as Williams netted its first goal 37 minutes into the game. The Ephmen broke through the Keene defense as Alex Blake ’03 scored off an assist from Ted Giannacopoulos ’02.
Minutes later Williams struck again. Giannacopoulos had a flip throw which deflected off of senior John Trementozzi and was headed in past the Keene goalie by junior Dorian Baker seconds after he entered the game.
As the second half began with the Ephs up 2-0, Keene tried a stronger offensive attack, but tough play by Williams defensemen Will Ouimet ’01 and Magiera held them to just seven shots for the game. As the backfield stopped Keene’s offense, the Eph midfielders worked hard to push the ball upfield.
“There was some good tackling out there as well by our midfielders, especially in the second half,” Magiera said. “We were winning those really important battles in the midfield that helped us in the long run.”
Williams continued to force its offense on Keene, taking several shots and tiring out the Keene defense. Emotions ran high as the crowd got involved and play became more physical, but the Eph side remained cool and unaffected by the sometimes over-aggressive Keene State defense. The Ephs took several shots on goal, with one hitting the crossbar, and came through in the final minutes of the game as Richard Bode ’02 passed the ball to Trementozzi, who netted the third Williams goal. With two saves by Ryan Spicer ’01 the Ephs shut out Keene State and walked away with a 3-0 win.
Head coach Mike Russo was pleased with the win and respected Keene State’s effort, saying “I’ve got to take my hat off to them. They just played a game yesterday that went into overtime, and they ran hard out there today.”
The players were satisfied with the win as well. Magiera called it “a real team effort,” adding “Today we beat a very good team and everyone contributed to the victory which was great to see.”
Williams looks to maintain its first place national ranking as the team travels to 12th ranked Middlebury on Wednesday in what promises to be an exciting and close game. Last year the Ephs lost their only regular season game to Middlebury but gained revenge as they defeated the Panthers in 5-0 NCAA post season play. Also later in the week the Ephmen travel to Trinity in another NESCAC game.