Men’s soccer (6-3-2, 4-2-2 in the NESCAC) topped Conn. College 1-0 with a second-half goal on Sunday, bouncing back from a 2-1 loss at Tufts on Saturday. Over reading period, the men conquered Westfield State 2-0 on Oct. 11 and drew Amherst 2-2 on Oct. 9.
The men are currently fourth in the NESCAC as they head to their final three games of the regular season.
The game against Conn. College on Sunday began as a back-and-forth affair, but neither side could create serious scoring chances. The Ephs broke the tie in the 64th minute, when the men were awarded a penalty kick following a handball from a Camel defender in the box. Right-back Philip Vestergaard ’12 stepped up and buried the opportunity, giving the Ephs a 1-0 lead.
Just 10 minutes later, the Camels were granted a penalty kick of their own. The Conn. College kick taker drove the ball to the left corner, but keeper Than Finan ’13, a penalty kick specialist, parried the ball away. The save secured a clean sheet for Finan and gave the team the victory.
“We came out strong from the start, even though we didn’t score until the second half – and via a penalty kick at that,” co-captain Nick Pugliese ’12 said. “We seemed in control through the entire match.”
The team’s narrow victory at Conn. College came a day after a tight 2-1 loss at Tufts on Saturday. The game was a tale of two halves, as the Ephs came out looking sluggish and were outshot 8-3 in the first half. Tufts struck first in the 24th minute, when a long throw deflected off an Eph defender and fell in the box. Jumbo forward Maxime Hoppenet picked up the ball and drove it toward the left corner of net. The ball sailed past Finan to put Tufts up 1-0.
Hoppenet scored again just 17 minutes later, as Jumbo Jono Edelmen played him a through ball and set him up for a one-on-one with the Ephs’ keeper. Finan charged Hoppenet, but the forward slotted the ball in the net to extend the Jumbos’ lead to 2-0 at the half.
“We just couldn’t match their intensity for the first half,” Pugliese said. “They came out revved on, put two in while they had the wind at their back and then just held on.”
In the second half, the men’s offense stepped up and made repeated efforts on goal. Despite their intensity, the Ephs could not narrow the lead until late in the game. In the 85th minute, Zach Grady ’15 fired a long shot that deflected off a Jumbo and into the back of the net. Pugliese was credited with the goal on the boxscore. Williams looked like the better team in the second half, but was unable to overcome Tufts, falling 2-1.
“We had a really strong push in the second half, aided by Weinrib moving up to forward to win some head balls and an awesome deflected strike by Grady, but [it was] not enough,” Pugliese said.
Prior to last weekend’s mixed results, the team concluded a two-game home stand with a 2-0 victory against Westfield State on Oct. 11 after a 2-2 double overtime draw against Amherst on Oct. 9.
The men’s attack was strong against Westfield State on Oct. 11, outshooting Westfield State 36-1. In the first half, Williams recorded 16 shots, nine of which came in the first 15 minutes of play. However, the Owl goalkeeper Jeff Pepoli made five saves to send the game to halftime scoreless.
The men’s offensive onslaught continued in the second half, and the men finally capitalized on their pressure in the 64th minute. A cross from forward Matt Kastner ’14 found Dan Morrisroe ’12 at the top of the six, who drove a one-time header at Pepoli. Pepoli dove and parried the shot, but his deflection sent the ball toward Grady. Grady’s first attempt was saved, but after corralling his own rebound, the rookie stuffed the ball into the net to put the Ephs up 1-0.
Grady added another 11 minutes later. Kastner again put a shot on goal, which Pepoli managed to direct toward the left of the field. The bounce was fortuitous for Grady: He picked up the ball, took a couple touches and played it into the back of the net. The lead gave the Ephs a 2-0 lead, which held to the end of the game.
The men’s game against Amherst on Oct. 9 began as a physical battle. Williams created chances with sustained possession, and Amherst created its own through set pieces. The Ephs broke the deadlock in the 24th minute, when Andres Burbank-Crump ’15 directed a free kick toward the six-yard box. Peter Christman ’13 controlled the ball and hammered it past the Jeffs’ keeper to give the Ephs a 1-0 lead. Physicality persisted in the first period, with three yellow cards meted out in the first 32 minutes.
In the second half, Williams continued to test Amherst’s back line. The men’s offensive pressure was successful in the 66th minute. Pugliese beat his defender 25 yards out, then directed an exceptional strike on net. The ball evaded a diving Jeffs goalkeeper and hit the top left corner of the net to extend the Ephs’ lead to 2-0.
Amherst did not relent, however: In the 79th minute, Jeff Casey McNamara served the ball to teammate Jae Heo, who calmly put it past Finan. The score narrowed the men’s lead to 2-1.
One minute later, centerback Vestergaard pulled Amherst’s Jae Heo down in the penalty box, and the Jeffs were awarded a penalty kick. Spencer Noon took the shot for Amherst, but Finan managed to save the shot. However, the Ephs’ keeper parried the ball back into the box, where Noon put it away to even the score at two goals apiece. In the final 10 minutes and the ensuing two overtimes, both squads fought hard to break the tie, but the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
The men will host Colby on Saturday at 1 p.m. They will travel to RPI for a 2 p.m. matchup on Sunday.