Looking to bounce back from a pair of disappointing games, No. 20 men’s soccer (3-1-1, 3-1-1 in the NESCAC) hosted Bowdoin last Sunday. The Ephs broke a scoreless deadlock in the 83rd minute to go up 1-0 and earn their third win of the season.
The victory came after a disappointing 2-1 loss to Wesleyan on Saturday.
The men reshuffled their lineup on Sunday, and seven players made their first start of the season. The changes stemmed from injuries to Doug Weinrib ’13 and co-captain Matt Ratajczak ’13 as well as some strategic decisions from Head Coach Mike Russo. The Polar Bears dominated possession early in the game, but the Ephs counterattacked well. Dan Lima ’14 got a good look at goal in the eighth minute off a cross from Matt Kastner ’14, but the Bowdoin keeper made an excellent save on the volley. Additionally, rookie Matt Muralles ’15 tormented the Polar Bears in the midfield in his first start.
As the half wore on, the men dictated the pace of the game, testing Bowdoin keeper Will Wise with crosses and long-distance shots. The Ephs limited the Polar Bears’ chances in the half, permitting only one shot on goal and one corner kick that dropped into the Eph penalty box in the 45th minute.
The game was more level and aggressive in the second half, with multiple possession changes and offensive opportunities. Bowdoin tested the men’s back line with threatening restarts, and the men applied pressure on the Bowdoin net with balls threaded between defenders and played over the top. In the 81st minute, Eph keeper Peter Morrell ’14 delivered the ball to the left side of the box, which Kastner controlled and played to co-captain Nick Pugliese ’12. Pugliese drove a shot toward the top right corner of net. Wise saved the shot to keep the game scoreless.
Pugliese and Daniel Morrisroe ’12 were able to generate another excellent opportunity just three minutes later. Pugliese found a loose ball 35 yards from net in the 84th minute. The Eph co-captain played a beautiful through ball to an open Morrisroe to put the striker one-on-one with Wise at the top of the box. Wise charged the ball, and Morrisroe chipped the keeper to seize a 1-0 lead for the men. Bowdoin pushed players forward in the final minutes, but the men’s defense held strong to preserve the 1-0 win.
“Everyone who was called on to step up did so,” Pugliese said, “and it was great to see Morrisroe get the game-winner, as he’s been working so hard all year.”
“The way we responded to Saturday’s disappointing loss was incredible,” Ratajczak said. “We showed our depth, resilience and heart. It gives us a lot of confidence moving forward.”
The win came after a disheartening 2-1 double overtime loss to Wesleyan on Saturday. The Ephs controlled the tempo and created scoring chances throughout the game, registering seven shots on goal to the Cardinals’ four. Wesleyan was the first to score, however, as forward Noah Schlesinger played a ground cross into the middle of the box. Fellow Cardinal Evan Hazelett one-timed the ball past Eph keeper Than Finan ’13 to break the tie in just the third minute. Williams responded with renewed effort, but Wesleyan keeper Adam Purdy made two saves in the half to preserve the lead going into halftime.
The Ephs continued their offensive assault in the opening minutes of the second period, forcing Purdy to protect his net with three saves in the period. After a lull in the men’s offensive attack, Morrisroe ran into a loose ball on the left flank and delivered a high cross to striker Kastner. The Eph knocked a header into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1 in the 80th minute.
After neither team broke the tie in regulation, the men went to overtime. In the 109th minute, Wesleyan finally broke the deadlock, as Hazlett sent a cross to the back post. His teammate Harrison Lewis kept inbounds by volleying back toward the center of the six. Wesleyan’s Rory O’Neil headed Lewis’s volley past Finan to secure a 2-1 double overtime win for Wesleyan.
The men will take on M.I.T. in Cambridge on Saturday at 1 p.m. before taking on Babson on the road at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.