The men’s soccer team remained without a loss as it triumphed over Trinity and tied Middlebury this week, bringing its record to 5-0-1.
Travelling to Connecticut to face the Bantams, Williams disposed of the home team easily, 4-2. On the win, team captain Matt Magiera ’00 said, “Against Trinity we came out flying in the first half. We put them under a lot of pressure and were able to get a goal before halftime.”
That goal came 15 minutes into the game, as the Ephs struck first, working the ball upfield and through the Trinity lines. Forward Jason Stojkovic ’00 drove a pass from Magiera past the Bantam goalie. With just over a minute remaining in the first half Trinity retaliated with a goal of its own, bringing the halftime score to 1-1.
The halftime break sparked the Ephmen, who scored two more goals in the first six minutes of the second half. Williams’ second goal of the day came when midfielder Shawn Boburg ’00 nailed a free kick into the Trinity goal off of a Bantam player.
Shortly after that, the Williams offense struck again, keeping Trinity on its heels. Midfielder Josef Powell ’02 quickly wove his way through the Bantam defense, passing it up to first-year Alex Blake, who netted the Ephs’ third goal, giving them a 3-1 lead. Trinity attempted to come back, scoring its second goal 67 minutes into the game. But Williams quelled any hopes of a comeback 10 minutes later when Ted Giannacopolous ’02 scored the team’s decisive fourth goal. Giannacopoulos, a forward, placed a pass from Stojkovic past the struggling Trinity goalie.
After solid performances in the Trinity game, Stojkovic and Blake now lead the team in points with seven each, as Stojkovic has two goals and three assists and Blake has three goals and one assist.
Overall, Williams took 15 shots on goal for the day, while tough defense from Magiera and juniors Graham Dobbin and Will Ouimet held the hosts to just nine shots. Goalkeeper Ryan Spicer ’01 had one save in the Eph victory.
Earlier in the week the Ephs faced the Middlebury Panthers in Vermont, trying to avenge their only regular season loss of 1998. The long, hard fought battle ended in a 1-1 draw after two scoreless overtime periods. Williams had trouble finishing all afternoon, taking a whopping 19 shots on goal and 11 corner kicks.
Magiera noted that Williams had trouble adjusting to the pace of the game. “In the first half we came out very flat. I thought the pace of the game was very slow for us in the first half,” he said. Middlebury broke the 0-0 tie with a goal 23 minutes in. John Giannacopoulos, older brother of Williams’ Ted, touched it into the net for Middlebury.
The NESCAC rivals continued to clash for the rest of the half, as the Ephmen put forth some great offensive combinations but had trouble finding the goal. The Panthers took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
Williams would not give up, pressuring the goal and getting its chance with 15 minutes remaining. Eph forward Ted Giannacopoulos was tripped by a Panther defender slightly outside the box, and Williams was awarded an indirect kick. Blake took the kick and pounded a shot at the goal, but it was deflected by the Middlebury goalie. Stojkovic pounced on the loose ball and knocked it in, tallying Williams’ only goal.
The struggle continued for the two teams, each battling furiously until the end of regulation. With a 1-1 tie, the game was sent into overtime. Once again the Ephs battled with the Panthers, but the horn for the first overtime sounded and the teams were still stuck with one goal apiece.
The second overtime was more of the same, a continuous back and forth battle with the Eph offense putting on an attack and the defense holding Middlebury in check, allowing a mere four shots on goal for the entire game. After much fighting, Williams had to settle for a 1-1 tie.
The Ephmen were disappointed with the result after dominating play most of the game. “I definitely thought we were the better team, but in this sport the better team doesn’t always come away with the result” Magiera said.
Next up for the men is a 4:15 match today against Springfield at Cole Field, followed by an additional home game on Saturday at 1:00 versus NESCAC foe Bates.