Men’s soccer (4-2, 2-2 in the NESCAC) hosted Conn. College last Saturday, looking to rebound from a heartbreaking 1-0 double overtime loss at home to Amherst on Sept. 21. Coming into the game with a losing record in conference play, this was a must-win game for the men against a Conn. College team that has yet to win in conference play. The men ultimately topped Conn. College 1-0 in regulation.
The game did not start off as planned, as the Camels had the bulk of the possession and generated more chances in the first 20 minutes of the game. Conn. College forward and leading scorer Bill Hawkey beat his defender and rounded the goalkeeper in the 11th minute, but luckily his shot ended up in the side netting. Just minutes later, the Camels almost converted a free kick from 30 yards out.
However, against the run of play, the Ephs struck first in the 19th minute. Chris Seitz ’15 took a free kick quickly, rolling the ball down the right flank to Geoff Danilack ’16, who escaped from his defender and floated a tempting cross. A Camel defender managed to get a touch on the cross, but it fell to the feet of the industrious midfielder Nathan Miller ’15, who tucked his shot neatly by the Camel goalkeeper to give the Ephs a 1-0 lead.
The goal seemed to wake Williams up, as a few minutes later playmaker Matt Muralles ’15 played a brilliant through ball to Zack Grady ’15, leaving him one-on-one with the keeper. However, his shot was saved. On the ensuing counter, Andres Burbank-Crump ’15 made a last minute block on a cross, saving a surefire goal and preserving the Ephs’ 1-0 lead at halftime.
After the half, the Ephs started off strong, almost doubling their advantage on three different occasions. First, Muralles stole the ball right from the kick-off and played a long ball to Grady on the right side. Grady then teed up forward Matt Kastner ’14 at the top of the box, who blasted his shot over the goal. Minutes later, Kastner made a brilliant run through the Camel back line, and Muralles found him again. However, he sent his shot right into the chest of Conn. College’s keeper. Muralles then almost doubled the score in the 73rd minute as his firecracker of a shot from 30 yards out almost beat the keeper, but ricocheted off the crossbar.
As the clock wound down, the Camels increased their pressure, bringing on a second forward. A last ditch tackle from Seitz and a block from co-captain Dan Lima ’14 helped to preserve the lead, as Miller’s goal proved to be decisive in the men’s 1-0 victory.
Conn. College outshot the men 17 to 15, though both teams had four shots on goal. Co-captain Peter Morrell ’14 had four saves on the day.
“Soccer is a game of momentum, and Conn. College is a strong team,” said Head Coach Mike Russo. “Although I thought that in the early stages of the match, they had more of the ball, I’m more interested in the number of goal-scoring chances created rather than possession. And the game was very even in that regard. In the second half, we tried to control possession in the middle of the field and stop them swinging the ball from flank to flank.”
Williams traveled to Middlebury last Tuesday for another important NESCAC game, but results came in too late to report. The men host Skidmor e this Saturday at 12 p.m. at Cole Field.