Ephs slip to 3-3-1 after close loss to Camels

Zack Grady ’15 scored the lone goal for the Ephs in their 2-1 defeat on Saturday against conference foe Conn. College.
Zack Grady ’15 scored the lone goal for the Ephs in their 2-1 defeat on Saturday against conference foe Conn. College.

Men’s soccer (3-3-1, 2-2 in the NESCAC) extended its losing streak to three on Saturday, losing 2-1 to Conn. College. On Sept. 23 Williams faced off against RPI in a game that went into double overtime before ending in a 1-1 tie.

“Conn. College is a good team, but I thought that if we played up to our potential we could get a result. Unfortunately, we did not,” Head Coach Mike Russo said.

Although the Ephs controlled the ball well for most of the first half on Saturday, the Camels ended up with an eight-to-three advantage in shots. Williams needed goalie Bobby Schneiderman ’18 to come up big on two occasions in the opening half, which he did with two great saves to keep the game scoreless. Schneiderman was starting his second career collegiate game just four days after playing 110 minutes against RPI.

“Schneiderman made some very good saves, especially in the first half,” Russo said.

The Ephs made a costly error in the 53rd minute, when Schneiderman received an Eph pass just out of reach. Camels forward Marino Patrk made a run for the ball, and Schneiderman’s attempt to clear the ball wasn’t enough to stop Patrk from gently tapping the ball into the goal.

“[The goal] gave life to Conn. College,” Russo said. “It was a very even game, but when they got that goal their bench came alive, the team came alive and they worked very hard to get another one.”

The Camels earned their second goal just eight minutes later when they combined a clinical pass through the Ephs’ defense with a strong finish to the bottom corner of the net.

While Williams tried to close the gap, their efforts came up just short. Zach Grady ’15 brought the Ephs closer when he received a pass from JC Bahr-de Stefano ’17 at chest height. Grady brought the ball to his feet and then launched the ball into the back of the net to bring the score to 2-1. But Grady’s fifth goal of the season was not enough to prevent the Camels from earning their first victory over the Ephs since 1992.

“Grady has been performing well, scoring five goals in seven games,” co-captain Andrés Burbank-Crump ’15 said. “We’ll be relying on his cannon of a right foot to continue providing a spark for our front line.”

On Sept. 23, the men faced off against RPI in a game where both teams were hoping to rebound from a tough loss. Just two minutes into the game, Chris Conder ’15 launched a cross to Matt Muralles ’15 right in front of the goal, but Muralles headed the ball just over the top of the goal. The men had many other chances in the first half, outshooting RPI 13 to 4, but it wasn’t until late in the second half that either side put the ball in the net.

In the 71st minute, RPI earned a corner kick that set up a crowd of players from both teams in the penalty box. Although Schneiderman saved the initial shot, the ball was lost in the crowded penalty box and RPI snuck the ball into the net uncontested for a 1-0 lead.

The Ephs pressed the Engineers in an attempt to tie the game and were given a golden opportunity when Grady was taken down just outside the penalty box in the 79th minute. Grady took advantage of the free kick, booting the ball into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1. Although Malcolm Moutenot ’17 added three more shots before the end of the half, the Ephs could not score, and the game went into overtime.

Williams outshot RPI five to zero in the first overtime period, with 33 total shots to RPI’s 11, but the men were unable to convert these opportunities into a goal. In the second overtime period, the Ephs responded to a Schneiderman save with Grady launching a ball past the RPI goalie for what appeared to be the game-winning score, but Grady was called off-sides. Neither team put up any more chances, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

“The last few results have been tough to swallow, but it is only serving as further motivation for the rest of our season,” Burbank-Crump said. “If we keep our heads down and keep working hard, we know the results will come.”

Williams will have three chances to redeem themselves, starting with a home match today against Middlebury at 4:15 p.m. Then the men will go on the road to face Skidmore at noon on Saturday, before returning home to play Endicott on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

“Middlebury is the strongest team we’ll play this season besides Amherst, so we’re going to have to have a very strong performance on Wednesday,” Russo said. “Every game in the NESCAC is impotant … We have to be ready to come out and play.”

The Ephs are now stuck in their longest losing streak since 2008, a mere two weeks after being ranked No. 3 in the nation and outscoring their opponents nine to one. Since then, the men have gone 0-3-1, and have been outscored eight goals to three.