The men’s soccer team’s season came to a close this weekend with a heartbreaking loss to Richard Stockton College. The Ephmen traveled to New Jersey in this NCAA quarterfinal matchup where they were defeated for the first time this season.
It was a difficult and hard-fought game for the Ephs, as they held the Ospreys scoreless in the first half. Likewise, Williams was unable to connect offensively and the first half closed with the teams locked at zero.
Richard Stockton came out strong in the second half, stopping the Eph attack. “They did an excellent job of shutting us down,” said Williams head coach Mike Russo. Twenty minutes into the second half, Richard Stockton was given a corner kick, which squeezed past Williams goalie Ryan Spicer ’01. Greg Ruttler crossed the corner and Tom Kufta knocked it in at the 65 minute mark.
The Ephs kept up their attack for the rest of the game but the Ospreys proved to be too much. “It was a very close, even game,” said Williams assistant Eric Watson. Stockton held its 1-0 lead for the remainder of the half to end up with the victory and a trip to the NCAA Final Four.
Statistically, the Ephmen had the advantage on the afternoon, outshooting the Ospreys 12-3. Spicer made no saves on the afternoon, as Stockton’s only effective shot of the game came on the corner kick goal. On the other hand, Richard Stockton goalkeeper Tom Sauer made four saves, denying attempts by the Ephmen.
Although the team will not make a return trip to the NCAA Final Four as it had hoped, it has been a remarkable season for the Ephs. The defensive unit was spectacular all year, recording 12 shutouts in helping the team to a 15-1-1 overall record and a number one regional ranking.
Despite graduating six seniors from last season, including two All-Americans in defender Steve Danbusky and forward Nick Trebat, Williams achieved an undefeated regular season and allowed only six goals all season. As well as being the top team in NESCAC, there were several individual honors for the Ephmen this year.
Senior captain Matt Magiera achieved All-NESCAC first team honors as he netted four goals and one assist from his position in the backfield. A strong and steady defender with an ability to push up and create, Magiera was also a key for holding together the Williams defense in their many shutouts.
Joining him on the first team were Ted Giannacopoulos ’02 and Josef Powell ’02. Giannacopoulos, a quick forward who always seems to be near the ball, scored four goals and seven assists this season. Powell, a confident and skilled midfielder with deft touch, tallied nine assists, which led the team.
Second team honors were given to goalie Spicer, who made 22 saves in seven shutouts, and exciting forward Alex Blake ’03, who had a serious impact up front and was named NESCAC Rookie of the Year as he led the Ephmen with 11 goals. With this core of talent coming back next year, the Ephs seem destined to enjoy continued success in the coming years.
In their final season for the Ephmen, the seniors were key to Williams’ success. Magiera controlled the backfield, and behind him Neal Appleman ’00 made 10 saves in net. Offensively, Jason Stojkovic tallied three goals and four assists, Jon Trementozzi notched two goals and three assists and Shawn Boburg had two goals and one assist, including the game-winner against Salem State in earlier NCAA action.
Indeed, it was an impressive season for Williams, and the team acknowledged its sucess. “We’ve achieved a lot this year,” said Russo, “We’re happy with what we’ve accomplished.”