Men’s soccer halts RPI

Men’s soccer (9-1-2, 4-1-2 in the NESCAC) took down RPI 3-2 on Monday at the conclusion of two weeks of games. The team also garnered wins against Bates, Trinity and Springfield but suffered a decisive loss to Bowdoin on Saturday.

The men took command of the RPI game early on, when co-captain Joe Vella ’11 scored off a corner kick from Peter Christman ’13 in the second minute. RPI then rallied to get one past Williams goalkeeper Peter Morrell ’14 at 21:22. The 1-1 score held for the remainder of the half.

The Ephs came out fighting in the second half, breaking the tie in the first minute when Charlie Romero ’11 received a pass from Christman and deftly swerved past Engineer goalie Alex Penny. RPI scored again at 73:07 for a 2-2 tie, but Williams took the final goal at 82:59 when co-captain Gaston Kelly ’11 nailed it in off a pass from Vella. The Ephs had 18 shots on the game in comparison to the Engineers’ five.

Head Coach Mike Russo was impressed with the team’s success on Monday. “RPI is a very strong opponent who plays [more of a] possession game than most NESCAC teams,” he said. The team snapped RPI’s four-game win streak with the victory.

Monday’s win was a necessary turnaround after the team’s first loss of the season 2-0 to Bowdoin on Saturday. The Ephs outshot the Polar Bears 15 to 11, but Bowdoin took control of the game after a scoreless first half. At 63:16, Polar Bear Ben Denton-Schneider headed the ball past Morrell for a goal, and teammate Zach Danssart followed up only minutes later with a second goal at 66:09 for a 2-0 lead that held for the rest of the game.

“We played very well in the first half, getting in dangerous scoring positions but not able to make good final passes, but Bowdoin played better than us in the second half,” Russo said. “While we had more possession and a territorial advantage, they were better in the penalty boxes, the place where games are won and lost.”

Vella agreed with Russo’s analysis. “We outplayed them in the first half and were unfortunate to not have come away with a goal,” he said. “In the second half they had more energy and we created a bit less. We gave up a few too many set pieces on which they capitalized.”

Because of the loss, Williams is now tied for second place in the NESCAC with Bowdoin. Middlebury is currently in first place in the conference.

“It was a disappointing loss, as it was a crucial game in terms of a potential home field advantage for the NESCAC tournament,” Russo added.

The men had better luck on Wednesday, when they took down non-conference rival Springfield College in a 1-0 game. Williams dominated play with 11 total shots to Springfield’s three. The Ephs scored in the final minute of the first quarter when Kelly crossed a free kick into the box, opening up for Vella to head the ball into the back of the net. The teams were more evenly matched during the second half, but the Ephs were able to maintain their lead over the Pride through the end.

On Oct. 10, Williams defeated Trinity in a nail-biting overtime game. With a 0-0 score at the end of regulation, Kelly finally scored at 93:55 off a pass from Patrick Ebobisse ’13 for a final score of 1-0. The Ephs maintained control of the ball for most of the game with 16 total shots to the Bantams’ six.

The day before, Williams took down Bates in a 3-0 shutout, with goals by Romero, Colin Ainsworth ’11 and Kiel Bonhomme ’11. The Ephs had a whopping 28 total shots in the game and 15 shots on goal.

Williams will head east this weekend to face off against Tufts on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

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