Men’s soccer wins first league bout

September 14, 2016 by Mandela Namaste, Staff Writer

Men’s soccer (2-0, 1-0 in the NESCAC) secured two important victories over the weekend to open its season with wins over Trinity and Eastern Connecticut State.

“We’re obviously excited to get off to a strong start with two shutout wins on our home field. That being said, our attention is fully focused on our next match and on building upon each performance. We think our team is full of potential contributors and has a cohesive spirit that has bolstered our confidence and belief in closely-contested matches,” Head Coach Erin Sullivan ’96 said.

On Sunday, Williams showcased its improved defense, blanking Eastern Connecticut State 1-0 in a possession-oriented battle. Goalie and tri-captain Christian Alcorn ’17 preserved his second consecutive clean sheet in the win. The match did not feature much offense, especially in the first half, as both defenses showed up in top form. However, Williams did have a few quality chances. In the third minute, tri-captain J.C. Bahr de Stefano ’17 found space outside the box and rocketed a ball towards the goal, but Warriors goalie Ryan Murphy had plenty of time to clear it away. Additionally, in both the 24th and 26th minutes, Mohammed Rashid ’17 fired off shots, but to no avail.

The second half saw much more action. In the 68th minute, soon after being substituted in, Eph defender Sean Dory ’19 slid into a Warrior and was immediately shown a yellow card. Undeterred, Williams continued to march into Eastern Connecticut State territory and Dory redeemed himself, getting the ball right in front of the net and kicking it sideways to Bahr de Stefano, who slotted it right, past Murphy for his first goal of the season and Williams’ first goal of the match. The Ephs held firm in possession for the rest of the match, surviving a scare in the last minute.

On Saturday, the men relied on aggressiveness and speed to fight past Trinity 2-0. Trinity came out of the gate looking very strong offensively, using quick and clean passes to establish themselves in Williams’ half of the field. However, it did not take long for the Ephs to wake up, and Rashid led the charge with a run through the final third of the pitch in the fourth minute and a lob shot that just missed the net.

Williams continued to gain confidence throughout the first half, and in the 13th minute, following a corner and ensuing scramble in front of the net, forward Mark Sisco-Tolomeo ’18 gathered the ball and netted the first goal of the young season for Williams. The men continued to ride this momentum, punctuating their first half with a breakaway opportunity by forward Malcolm Moutenot ’16 that was poached away via a slide tackle by a Trinity defender in the 21st minute.

The second half was all Williams. The Ephs started out fast and energetic, but could not harness this aggressiveness into many clear chances at the beginning of the half. This changed in the 51st minute, when Bahr de Stefano played a through ball to Rashid, who deked a defender and slotted the ball past the goalie for the second Eph goal. Williams continued to create solid opportunities throughout the rest of the match and the ball was consistently in Trinity’s half. However, the Bantams started to stir offensively after Rashid’s goal, and the last third of the match saw consistent challenges from the Bantam attackers, with seven shots in the last 40 minutes. Up until this point, Ephs goalie Alcorn had not been challenged much, but he certainly proved his mettle, stopping an excellent look by forward Henry Farr in the 65th minute and a header from defender Michael Burns in the 87th minute, preserving his first clean sheet of the season.

Today, Williams will host Endicott at 4:30 p.m. and this weekend will face conference foe Colby.

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