No. 16 men’s soccer (2-0-1) looked to build on its early season success this Saturday in its matchup with conference-rival Trinity. The Ephs bounced back from a 1-0 deficit in the final minutes of regulation to knot the game at 1-1, throwing the game into overtime.
After two overtime periods, neither team gained an edge and the game ended in a 1-1 tie. The tie came after the men topped Hamilton on Sept. 14 with a 3-0 shutout.
From the first whistle, the men’s game against Trinity was fast-paced, with plenty of possession changes and scoring chances. Throughout the first half, Doug Weinrib ’13 fed the Ephs chances with his long throw-ins, forcing the Bantams to focus on defense and limiting their looks at the goal. In the 17th minute, Williams nearly capitalized on a scoring opportunity for User Kushaina ’14 off a through ball, but Trinity keeper Grant Schonberg barely intercepted a lead pass.
The men’s best goal-scoring chance of the first half came in the 29th minute, when co-captain Nick Pugliese ’12 slotted a through-ball to rookie Zach Grady ’15. Grady met Schonberg in the box and managed to nudge the ball by him toward the net. The men were thwarted in opening scoring, however, as the ball was run down and cleared by a Trinity defender. In the half’s final minute, the crowd erupted as an air-borne, fully-extended Grady narrowly missed connecting on a ball driven through the box by a diving header from Philip Vestergaard ’12.
In the second half, the Bantams aggressively tested the Ephs’ back line with crosses and set pieces. However, the Ephs controlled the majority of the play and were regularly able to counterattack, creating opportunities with their vertical, fast-paced style of play.
Then, in the 78th minute, Trinity capitalized on chaos in the penalty box to break the scoreless tie. The ball was played in over the top of the defense from the midfield, and the Ephs’ attempted clear came to the right of the net, where Bantam Chris Binnie picked up the ball and crossed it to Graham Goldstein, who was in perfect position to put it away. “Our defense was so solid all game,” Pugliese said. “That was really the only good chance we gave up all game.”
After falling behind, Williams switched to a three-back formation in order to push more men forward. This strategy succeeded in the 87th minute, when throw-in specialist Weinrib launched a throw from the right sideline into the penalty box. Dan Lima ’14 then volleyed the ball off a deflected punch from the Trinity keeper into the left side of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
In overtime, chances on either side were few and far between. Stout defense and solid goalkeeping kept both teams from scoring, and the game concluded in a 1-1 tie after two overtime periods. “Though the game ended in a draw, I’m very happy with the resilience we showed today,” Pugliese said. “This team has some heart.”
Statistically, the first half was evenly contested, with Williams attempting six shots to Trinity’s four. However, in the second half, play began to favor the home side: The Ephs managed 11 shots after the half, while the Bantams were afforded just two scoring opportunities.
“I was disappointed we couldn’t finish our chances out there today,” Head Coach Mike Russo said. “We need to try to hit the target more, try and make the keeper dive.”
There were 34 fouls committed in the game, and each team received one yellow card.
Saturday’s draw came three days after the men’s home-opener victory over Hamilton on Sept. 14, in which three separate Ephs found the net and keeper Than Finan ’13 kept a clean sheet. Kushaina opened the scoring in the eighth minute, catching Hamilton’s keeper off his line with a lobbed shot into the left corner of the net to put the men on top 1-0. Williams controlled possession throughout, and scored again after earning a corner kick in the 65th minute. Rookie Andres Burbank-Crump ’15 then swung down into the penalty box and connected with co-captain Matt Ratajczak ’13, who headed the ball into the net to increase the Ephs’ lead to 2-0. To close the scoring, the Ephs once again took advantage of Weinrib’s ability to launch the ball into the penalty box from the sideline, this time to the tune of a Matt Kastner ’14 header goal in the 78th minute to seal a 3-0 victory.
Statistically, the men’s shutout win was fairly even: Williams had nine shots compared to Hamilton’s six. The teams combined for 19 fouls and no cards.
The men will travel to Middletown, Conn., on Saturday to take on rival Wesleyan. The men will then face Bowdoin at home on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.