Exciting, enlightening, inviting football is being played on Cole field these days.
And no, the players don’t wear helmets.
On Saturday the Williams men’s soccer team made yet another opponent beg the question, how? How can we possibly defend against a speedy and skillful Eph attack that has posted an unprecedented 23 goals in their first five matches? How could they possibly penetrate the well-organized and suffocating Williams defense? How many Jamaicans do these guys have? The answer to the first two questions is the same: They simply can’t. The answer to the third: apparently too many.
On Saturday it was Trinity aimlessly searching for answers, as the Ephs worked their way to a convincing 3-0 victory. The win extended the Eph’s regular season winning streak to 30 games and continued their perfection during this season’s campaign. They have maintained a #2 ranking in the country and their #1 spot in New England. Williams is now 6-0 overall, and 4-0 against NESCAC opponents. Trinity dropped to 2-2-2 overall and 1-2 in the NESCAC conference.
The game was evenly matched in its first twenty minutes, as each team familiarized itself with the other’s shape and style of attack.
But as they have done every game this season, the Ephs eventually broke down their opponent’s defense with quick ball movement and well timed off the ball running.
In the 27th minute, little Ted Giannacopoulos ’02 snuck through the Trinity defense, received the ball, and struck a near post shot from just inside the penalty box. The Trinity keeper was beaten, but the ball was kept out of the net by the post.
As the ball careened off the woodwork a Trinity defender, running back toward his own net, mindlessly knocked the ball down with his left hand.
A penalty was the only reasonable call to make, and the referee saw fit to give the Ephs their second penalty kick in as many games. This was the moment for Alex Blake ’03, liquid cool himself, to convert the spot kick for his ninth goal of the year. But as fate had it Blake was blocked from the spot, and after a quick strike from Mike Cortese ’01 that was courageously blocked by the sprawled keeper, Josef Powell ’02 slipped a rebound through the Trinity defense into the losing net, making the score 1-0. Three shots on one penalty, one goal.
The score remained that way until nearly fifteen minutes into the second half. In the 59th minute Powell received a ball from the defense and went at the Trinity keeper from about 25 yards out. The Trinity goalie saved Powell’s initial blast but was out of position for an equally dangerous rebound from Blake, who casually pounded the ball into the top shelf. Ten minutes later, Blake found himself 20 yards out with the ball and a few Trinity defenders milling about. He elegantly sliced his way around and through one, and then two, and then three Trinity defenders and coolly watched his shot slip past the keeper into the far post. The score was 3-0 and Trinity knew they were a beaten side.
The Ephs utilized their depth from the bench, using all twenty-two players to seal a clean slate in the final half hour of the match.
Perhaps the Eph dominance is best illustrated by their staggering advantage in most statistical categories.
Williams produced 34 shots to a meager 5 from Trinity. The Eph goalies, co-captain Ryan Spicer ’01 and Roberto Kirscher ’03, were flawless in net, each recording one save.
Earlier in their week the Ephs left a different opponent asking many of the same questions Trinity couldn’t answer. On Wednesday, Williams traveled to New Hampshire to meet the then #3 team in New England, Keene State.
Keene played evenly with the Ephs for the first twenty minutes of the match, but much like Trinity, was put away soon thereafter. First half goals from forwards Walker Waugh ’02 and Jaap Stien ’02 put Keene’s dreams of beating Williams out of reach.
To ensure a thorough beating, Williams scored twice more in the second half, as two Jamaicans, Powell and Khari Stephenson ’04, proved superior to the Keene defense. The score ended 4-1.
The next match is at home against Springfield College this afternoon.