Men’s soccer clings to top ranking in Maine

The Williams Men’s Soccer team swept through Maine and remained number one nationally in Division III. The team now stands at 9-0.

The Ephs began the weekend playing a determined Bates squad Saturday in Lewiston. The Williams team has made a habit recently of scoring goals in the opening minutes of their games – a fact Bates quickly learned. Three minutes into the game the ball found the feet of Teddy Giannacopoulos ’02 on the right wing.

Gino drew a gang of defenders, wore through their legs and picked out Alex Blake ’03 in the center of the field. Blake calmly brought the ball from his thigh to his foot amidst the Bates defense and slotted a far post shot past an awed goalkeeper.

Bates settled down quickly and began to mount well-supported counter attacks at the bruised Williams defenders. Bates was rewarded for its efforts 12 minutes into the game.

A scramble for possession of a loose ball in the Williams penalty box ended up with a free kick being awarded five yards from the goal. Bates deceived the wall of Williams defenders charging off the goal line. One attacker let the ball go through his legs and into the path of another striker who struck a low hard shot and tied the game at one.

Twenty-five minutes into the contest, however, Blake and Josef Powell ’02 connected to give Williams a 2-1 lead.

Powell drove a perfectly weighted pass through and behind the Bates defense to a sprinting Blake, a defender attached to his left side. As the ball bounced into the penalty box, Blake cracked a first time waist high volley that stung the side netting of the far post.

Williams regained momentum after the thrilling goal and scored once more before halftime. With 35 minutes gone Gino was again causing havoc in the Bates defense. He eluded the Bates defenders and somehow slipped the ball to Eric Stein ’03, who was waiting on the top of the six-yard box.

Stein quickly settled the ball at his feet, and took half a step to poke the ball near post. The scored remained 3-1 until the 75th minute. As a Bates cross was floated into the Williams penalty box, Perry Kalmus ’03 challenged for a defensive clearance.

The Bates attacker had other ideas. Perry inadvertently undercut the ambitious striker as he attempted to bicycle kick the cross. The referee was blew his whistle for a penalty kick. Eph goalkeep Roberto Kirsher ’03 dove the right way, but the penalty shot was well placed and Bates was suddenly down only one with 15 minutes to play.

The Williams defenders denied Bates a goal as time expired.

With one Maine team down, and one to go Williams traveled further north to face Colby College on Sunday. The first half was evenly matched as the teams both created threatening attacks, but could not find a way to get the ball into the net.

Thirty-six minutes into the half Khari Stevenson ’04 found the net with a powerful left footed strike 25 feet away from goal. The score was 1-0 at halftime.

The Ephs refound their scoring touch early in the second half. Before ten minutes passed, the Williams attack found the net four times and promptly put the White Mules back in the pen.

Blake assisted a smiling Mike Cortese ’01 in the 46th minute. Blake received another thrilling pass from Powell and chipped the keeper in the forty-ninth minute.

Stevenson slammed home his second goal in the 52nd minute. Khari completed an exciting hat trick in the fifty-fourth minute. The scoring took a brief pause until left back Cortese coolly slammed a penalty kick into the side netting in the 65th minute. It was 6-0 and the Maine fans were cold and awed.

The team’s next game is on Cole Field this Wednesday at 4:15 p.m. Williams will host Babson (10-1-1).