With a win over conference rival Bates on Saturday, men’s soccer continued to build its momentum, improving to 2-0 on the season and 1-0 within the NESCAC. The visiting Ephs recorded a shutout against the Bobcats (1-1, 0-1 in the NESCAC), notching a goal in the second half to record the victory.
“Bates was a very organized team and we had some trouble trying to break down their defense,” co-captain Daniel Curbelo-Zeidman ’09 said. “They are a solid squad and I know everybody is really happy to have gone up there and come home with three points.”
Bates’ strong defense held Williams in the first half even though the Ephs maintained a slight offensive edge, outshooting the Bobcats 8-7. Williams battled through aggressive play from Bates with superior efforts from goalkeepers Andrew Graham ’10 and Andrew Lyons-Berg ’11 and an impenetrable backline led by co-captain Conor Smith ’10. Graham and Lyons-Berg had four saves between them.
Although the defense on both sides proved a challenge to the offense, the Ephs eventually broke through. In the 15th minute of the second half, co-captain Sam Empson ’09 took a corner kick that curved passed the Bobcat goalkeeper for the only goal of the game.
“Sam Empson had a very good game in the midfield, scoring the only goal on a beautifully taken corner kick,” Head Coach Mike Russo said. “It was a good win on the road against a well-coached, well-organized team.”
Several other scoring opportunities were created by an improving Williams’ offense, but the Ephs could not capitalize, ending the game with a 14-10 advantage in shots.
“It was a good away win, but not our best performance as a team,” Empson said. “Everyone worked hard and it was a good stepping stone for us, one that will hopefully push us to work harder in practice.”
Even though the Ephs are 2-0 on the season and undefeated in conference play, they are by no means settling into a false sense of security. “From top to bottom, we’re in one of the strongest conferences in the country so getting our first league win is great,” Curbelo-Zeidman said. “However, now the goal is [to] try and keep building momentum. We have a tough weekend coming up against Bowdoin and Wheaton and getting two wins under our belt is a big confidence booster.”
The Ephs will host Bowdoin on Saturday at 11 a.m., and then face visiting Wheaton on Sunday at 1 p.m.