Men’s soccer (3-1, 2-0 in the NESCAC) notched its third straight victory over visiting Bowdoin last Saturday before Williams’ undefeated streak came to an end as the men suffered a disappointing 4-2 loss to Wheaton the following day.
“[Saturday, we] played well. [We] created chances and got results,” Head Coach Mike Russo said. “[Sunday], the reverse happened. Wheaton played well and they had some dangerous forwards.”
Sunday’s game against Wheaton marked the first real struggle for men’s soccer this season. The team’s 3-0 record was shattered by the Lyons, as the Ephs could not capitalize on important opportunities. Williams and Wheaton had a relatively equal number of shots, corner kicks, saves and fouls, but in the end the Ephs could not convert these opportunities into goals.
Wheaton scored within the first four minutes of the game. The Ephs held the Lyons for the rest of the half despite Wheaton’s 10 shots on goal. However, Williams’ offense could not convert any of its seven shots and both teams entered halftime with Wheaton at a 1-0 advantage.
The Lyons came out strong again early in the second half, as Josh Solomon scored an unassisted goal in the 47th minute of the contest. Williams finally retaliated as Pierre Meloty-Kapella ’10 also scored an unassisted goal just minutes later. However, Williams could not catch Wheaton as the Lyons extended their lead to two goals again when Yuri Moreira scored off of a Solomon assist.
The Ephs continued to fight. Co-captain Sam Empson ’09 scored the second but final goal for the Ephs. Wheaton’s Moreira was hungry for yet another goal, and scored one shortly after. Despite outshooting Wheaton 13-8 in the second half, the Ephs failed to overcome the deficit and were handed their first loss. “[Wheaton] was a good team,” co-captain Conor Smith ’10 said. “But we just need to rebound and keep our heads up. We have some big games coming up to get ready for.”
Williams had much of the same problems capitalizing on crucial opportunities on Saturday, but the Ephs’ strong defense made up for any offensive sluggishness. Andrew Graham ’10 had a solid day in goal, preventing any Bowdoin shots to pass him. The Eph offense also had several opportunities in the first half. As the period began to wind down, Ben Mackinnon ’10 fired the ball from nearly 20 yards away from goal, but the ball deflected off the post and both teams entered the break scoreless.
In the second half, the Ephs continued to shoot persistently and maintain control of the ball, but Polar Bear goalkeeper Dan Hicks consistently managed to block the Ephs’ shots.
Gaston Kelly ’11 had a few opportunities in the second half. After missing a breakaway and another crucial shot on goal, Kelly redeemed himself when Peter Gordon ’09 crossed a high ball to Kelly. At the top of the box, Kelly received the cross and bicycle-kicked it into the top right corner of the net. Although Williams kept threatening for the remainder of the game, Kelly’s epic shot was the lone score of the game. Williams recorded 13 shots on goal in the second period, while Bowdoin only had one, and the game ended in a 1-0 Williams win.
Williams will play against Conn. College on Saturday. “Now we need to pick up the pieces and refocus. We have plenty to work on for the game at Conn. College,” Russo said.