Men’s soccer wrestles Bates to draw

Chris Conder ’15 notched the lone goal against Bates.
Chris Conder ’15 notched the lone goal against Bates.

Men’s soccer (7-5-2, 5-3-1 in the NESCAC) travelled to face Bates last Saturday, as the two teams fought to a 1-1 draw in double overtime. The Ephs will head into their final game of the regular season needing a win to clinch homefield advantage in the NESCAC playoffs.

“They were a very hard working team and worthy opponent and would be a tough nut to crack for any team in New England,” co-captain Andrés Burbank-Crump ’15 said.

The Ephs came out of the gate strong, quickly taking the ball down the field at the start of the game. In the opening minute, Malcolm Moutenot ’17 launched a long ball into the box, which fell right toward the feet of Chris Conder ’15. Conder tapped the ball in, and after only 39 seconds Williams took a 1-0 lead.

“We came out full of energy and buzzing around the field, which was instrumental to getting such an early goal,” Burbank-Crump said. “We strung together a few crisp passes and [Chris] Conder demonstrated great composure with his finish.”

Within the next few minutes, Bates took advantage of a free kick, putting pressure on the Williams defense. After a scramble, a  header ended up at the feet of a Bobcats forward, who then booted a hard ball into the back of the net. Just five minutes into the game, both teams had scored to make it a 1-1 game.

The Bobcats spent much of the first half keeping the Ephs from creating many chances. The main scoring opportunities came midway through the first half, when Matt Muralles ’15 and co-captain Luke Pierce ’15 each had opportunities, but failed to get a shot past the Bobcats’ goalie.

“Bates really took it to us for the next 40 minutes. They were winning first and second balls and seemed to be a step ahead of us for the rest of the half,” Burbank-Crump said.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Bates gave Williams several scares with a sequence of corner kicks. The Ephs’ defense maintained its composure and did not allow a second goal. On the other side of the field, Conder tried to tally the go-ahead goal in the 66th minute, but was thwarted by the Bates goalie. Williams did not get another shot off until there were just 80 seconds left in the second half, with Milan Jones ’18 sending a well-struck ball wide.

“We refocused in the second half and put forward a better effort, generating several chances to get the go-ahead goal while they resorted more and more to counter attacks as the game wore on,” Burbank-Crump said.

Williams prevented Bates from getting a single shot on goal in extra time, while J.C. Bahr-de Stefano ’17 had a shot that went just high and a great header that the Bates goalie secured. Muralles tried a long curving ball as extra time went on, but his shot was blocked by the goalie. As both overtime periods passed, neither team gained an advantage and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

Conder led the Ephs with four total shots, three of which were on goal. Between the pipes, Christian Alcorn ’17 recorded three saves.

Williams will close out its regular season on the road today against Hamilton at 3 p.m. The Ephs need either a victory against Hamilton or a Wesleyan loss to secure a home playoff game in the first round of the NESCAC playoffs that begin this Saturday.