Men’s soccer falls to Tufts, bests Hamilton

Men’s soccer (7-5-2, 4-4-1 in the NESCAC) fell 3-0 to Tufts on Senior Day last Saturday. All five Williams seniors started: midfielder Troy Ritter ’16, midfielder Marcus Christian ’16, striker Mohamed Rashid ’16, co-captain midfielder Noah Grumman ’16 and co-captain defender Geoff Danilack ’16.

The turning point of the match came in the 21st minute, when Tufts forward Nathan Majumder beat goalie Christian Alcorn ’17 on a penalty kick. This goal set the tone for the rest of the half and match. Both teams showed attacking promise throughout the first half, but neither team converted these chances. Williams’ best opportunity came in the 38th minute, when Mark Sisco-Tolomeo ’18 shot a low ball towards the net, but it was saved by Tufts goalie Scott Greenwood. Going into the locker room, the Jumbos were up 1-0, and they were not done adding to that lead.

Not a minute into the second half, Majumder struck again for the Jumbos, slotting a ball past Alcorn from an awkward angle on the right side of the pitch. Not to be deterred, Williams kept pressing the attack, recording two shots in two minutes from Scatt MacDonald ’19 and Brandon Dory ’17, but Greenwood saved both again, preserving the two-goal lead. In the 66th minute, Tufts scored for the final time, as Jason Kayne gathered a pass from Kevin Lawson and booted it into the goal to end the match 3-0. Alcorn stopped only one of Tufts’ four shots on goal while Greenwood saved all six of Williams’ shots.

Last Wednesday, the men took on Hamilton and earned a 4-0 victory. A scoreless first half saw few dangerous chances on either side of the pitch, but the attacking patterns that would eventually lead to three of Williams’ four goals were on display in the early going. Midfielder Malcolm Moutenot ’17 had his way on the right flank throughout the whole game, repeatedly playing well-struck balls across the box or forcing corner kicks, keeping the Hamilton defense under constant pressure. Hamilton was up to the task in the first half, swarming Williams attackers and rapidly taking away any free space that could have been exploited by players such as Rashid.

Hamilton keeper Harris Pollack did well to keep the men off of the scoreboard in the half, often coming out of his net to take away balls in the air from opposing strikers. Pollack was kept busy throughout the second half as well, finishing with six saves. Hamilton’s best effort of the first 45 minutes came when a free kick from just over half-field took several bounces around the box before falling at the feet of Elijah Morris, whose shot was blocked by an Eph defender.

Williams’ dynamic multi-pronged attack took over in the second half against an increasingly fatigued Hamilton back line. In the 55th minute, Moutenot received a ball from Rashid and slipped in a hard cross on the ground, where it was gladly received by Sisco-Tolemeo and deposited in the goal. This score gave the Ephs a 1-0 lead.

Eleven minutes later, a ball from midfielder  JC Bahr-de Stefano ’17 was misplayed by a Hamilton defender, allowing Rashid to run onto the loose ball and finish a one-on-one opportunity against Pollack to put the Ephs up 2-0.

The 77th and 80th minutes of the contest both saw goals for the men that seemed to be almost replays. First, Moutenot again exposed the right flank and played a low cross that was flicked on by Bahr-de Stefano to a waiting Rashid, who tapped the ball into the back of the net from point blank range. Next, a ball down the right side to forward Malcolm Singleton ’18 led to another cross, this time finished by defender Greg Andreou ’19.

Danilack and the rest of the back line played a remarkably clean game that only required three saves from Alcorn. The win marked the first home shutout for the Ephs since their first game of the season when they blanked No. 2 Oneonta State 2-0 on Sept. 9.

The men are ready to learn from their results over the past week. “After a week of mixed results, we continue to look within for more consistency on the defensive side of the ball,” Head Coach Erin Sullivan ’96 said. “The key to our postseason fate will be our ability to defend well as a unit and limit our opponents’ chances from first whistle to last. We have to win more of the little battles in the front half of the field.”

Williams looks to finish strong today on the road at Middlebury at 3 p.m.

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