Bouncing back from the team’s first loss of the season, men’s soccer (10-1-1, 5-1-1 in the NESCAC) beat the Springfield Lyons (4-10-1) at home Wednesday and Bowdoin (8-3-1, 3-3-1) in Brunswick on Saturday.
Saturday’s match at Bowdoin was a back-and-forth, physical contest, as the teams committed a combined 38 fouls and pushed each other into overtime.
Williams opened the scoring in the 11th minute, when Gaston Kelly ’11 picked up a loose ball in the box and drove the ball into the corner of the Bowdoin net. The Polar Bears countered 19 minutes later off a free kick to knot the score at 1-1, a tally that would remain until the half ended.
The Ephs came out hard in the second half, but the Polar Bears took advantage of a free kick in the 68th minute as a Polar Bear headed the ball into the back of the net to grab a 2-1 lead. Williams would not go down without a fight, however: Captain Conor Smith ’10 pushed up from his normal position at center back into the attack, and the men peppered the Bowdoin goal with 10 shots in the second half as they pushed forward in an attempt to tie up the game.
The effort paid off, as Charlie Romero ’11 followed up on a shot from Kelly in the 81st minute to level the score, 2-2, and push the game into overtime.
Williams continued its offensive pressure in overtime with great success. Eight minutes into the first extra period, Joe Vella ’11 took a free kick just outside the Polar Bear penalty area that put the game away for the Ephs. The shot bent over the wall and skimmed the ground before rippling the net and handing Williams a 3-2 victory.
Overall, the Ephs had been much more dominant in the game than the final tally suggested: Williams outshot Bowdoin 19-9 in the match, while winning eight corners to Bowdoin’s three.
“Bowdoin was a very difficult match, and I was delighted as the boys remained composed throughout while playing verse a very physical, direct style of play,” said Head Coach Mike Russo. “Coming back to win after being down 2-1 with less than 10 minutes remaining was a tribute to our guys resilience and refuse to lose mentality.”
Unfortunately for the Ephs, Smith sustained a serious injury in the final minutes of the game as he went up for a head ball and collided with another player. The captain will most likely be out for the rest of the season.
Saturday’s victory followed a 5-0 drubbing of the Lyons on Wednesday. Unlike the game against Bowdoin, the result of Wednesday’s game was never in question.
Smith scored in the fourth minute of the match off a rebound from a Pierre Meloty-Kapella ’10 shot, and from then on, the Ephs didn’t look back. Smith found the back of the net again 10 minutes later, with Colin Ainsworth ’11 providing the assist, and Meloty-Kapella added a goal on a penalty kick in the 31st minute to make the score 3-0. The score remained the same at half.
As the second half opened, the Eph attack remained relentless. Kelly slid a ball into the back of the net off an assist from Romero in 58th minute to put the Ephs up four, and Dan Morrisroe ’12 added his first goal of the season in the 72nd minute to put Williams up 5-0. The team continued to attack but was unable to find the net, and the men left the field with a 5-0 victory.
Last week’s wins came on the heels of the team’s first loss of the season to No. 14 Trinity on Sunday, Oct. 12. The team was ready for the match following consecutive 4-0 wins against Castleton and Bates, and the Ephs controlled the play: They posted 32 shots to the Bantam’s eight. However, the team was unable to finish their opportunities and fell by a misleading 3-0 mark.
Williams, ranked No. 18 nationally in the NSCAA Coaches’ Poll, will now face Tufts at Cole Field on Saturday at 1 p.m.
“We are talking it one game at a time and Tufts is our next target,” said Russo. “We are preparing by focussing on the defensive side of things, as Conor is a huge loss for us.”