Men’s soccer (7-7-2, 4-6-1 in the NESCAC) lost a heartbreaker on Saturday in its NESCAC quarterfinal match against No. 4 Conn. College. After playing to a 3-3 draw in regulation and double overtime, a penalty kick shootout determined the victor of the game. Winning 4-2 in this final round, the Camels moved forward in the NESCAC bracket and ended the Ephs’ season. The win was Conn. College’s first win against Williams in postseason play; the men had defeated Conn. College in their previous two postseason meetings.
The Ephs dug themselves into a hole in the first half, conceding two early goals to a Camel team that had an energetic start behind the support of a rowdy home crowd. The first Conn. College goal was the result of a counterattack after the Ephs brought men forward into the box on a set piece. Camel Chris Lockwood finished a one-on-one play with Eph goalie Christian Alcorn ’17 to put the Camels up 1-0. Five minutes later, Lockwood made a nice end-line run before threading a pass through to Matthew Bitchell, who put the ball in the goal and gave Conn. College the start for which they were surely looking. Some momentum was taken away when Malcolm Moutenot ’17 went down in the box, drawing a penalty kick, which was converted by striker Mohammed Rashid ’16, bringing the score to 2-1 in favor of the Camels. The men were lucky to end the first half down only one goal after being outplayed for most of the period.
The Ephs battled hard from the start of the second half, culminating in an equalizing goal from Mark Sisco-Tolomeo ’18 in the 60th minute. The goal opened up the game, with both sides pushing for a potential game winner. In the 75th minute, Rashid slipped a ball to Moutenot who found the back of the net to put the Ephs up 3-2. From there, the combined efforts of Alcorn and the Ephs’ back four kept the Camels from finding an equalizer of their own until the final minute of regulation, when a free kick was conceded just outside the Ephs’ eighteen yard box. The shot attempt struck the post, rebounding to the front of the net where Camel Graham Koval was lurking. Koval tapped the ball across the line with only six seconds remaining in regulation, prompting a roar from the home bench and fans in attendance.
The score remained knotted at three goals apiece for the duration of two overtime periods, sending the contest into penalty kicks. The Camels went first in the shootout and were quickly in control after going up 1-0 before the mens’ first kicker, J.C. Bahr de Stefano ’17, had his shot saved by keeper Austin DaCunha. After two made penalties in the second round, the Ephs capitalized on a missed Camel attempt to even the shootout after three rounds. A converted penalty from Conn. College’s fourth kicker and another save from DaCunha gave the Camels a chance to win the game on their own foot, a chance that they pounced on. Fans stormed the field after the final penalty found the back of the net, marking a bitter ending to an up and down season for the Ephs.
Last Wednesday, the men fell 1-0 to Middlebury in their last regular season game. Moutenot led the Ephs with three shots and Alcorn managed four saves.
The Ephs’ loss against the Camels in the NESCAC tournament ends their season. The men graduate Rashid, Troy Ritter ’16, Marcus Christian ’16, co-captain Noah Grumman ’16 and co-captain Geoff Danilack ’16. Head Coach Erin Sullivan ’96 had nothing but positive words for the seniors he is losing: “We tip our cap to [our] outstanding seniors and all the countless efforts and sacrifices they’ve made for the Eph soccer program. The collective Williams soccer family salutes them and wishes them all the very best.”