Men’s soccer extends undefeated start

Tom Young ’17 fired two shots during the Ephs’ contest against the Babson Beavers at Cole Field on Sunday afternoon.  Photo courtesy of Sports Information.
Tom Young ’17 fired two shots during the Ephs’ contest against the Babson Beavers at Cole Field on Sunday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

Men’s soccer (4–1–0, 2–0 in the NESCAC) continued its undefeated start to the season with a crucial league win against Colby and a non-conference victory against a tough Babson side.

On Sunday, a relatively quiet match against Babson ended in a climactic way as tri-captain and goalie Christian Alcorn ’17 stopped a penalty kick with 37 seconds remaining, preserving a 1–0 victory for the Ephs.

Alcorn leapt to his left to deflect the penalty shot away from the goal and it resulted in consecutive corners for the Beavers, but the Eph defense stood tall and maintained the clean sheet.

Babson started the game mounting all of the offensive pressure. However, the Ephs immediately reversed this momentum in the fourth minute, when midfielder David Madding ’18 got the ball on the right corner of the box and played inside to Mohammed Rashid ’17, who kicked it straight past Babson goalie James Takami for the early score.

Less than two minutes later, Rashid almost added to the score with a low-to-the-ground snipe, but Takami gathered the ball to keep the deficit at one. The Beavers got their best opportunity of the first half in the 28th minute when forward Noah Wright gathered the ball on top of the box on the left side and lifted a ball just high and right of the net. However, for the most part, this was a half fought between the boxes, with strong midfield and defensive play ruling the first 45 minutes. Madding, Rashid, and Tom Young ’17 all made critical passes that kept the play moving as the Ephs maintained the lead.

Blocked shots and corner kicks abounded for much of the second half, with neither team putting together a solid possession until the 62nd minute, when Williams forward Mark Sisco- Tolomeo ’18 ran up the middle and played a ball to his right where Rashid was waiting and narrowly missed a shot to the right.

With less than 25 minutes to go, Babson ramped up the intensity, forcing Williams to play conservatively even in Babson’s half. It seemed a Beaver player was always on or around the ball, disrupting the Eph attack.

With less than one minute to go, a ball came into the Ephs’ box, where both Beaver midfielder Noah Parker and Alcorn ran to gain control and collided. A foul was called on Alcorn, resulting in a penalty kick to tie the match.

While Parker hit a great ball, Alcorn was able to bat it behind him, resulting in an immediate corner kick. After a second Babson corner, Williams was able to kick the ball away from the goal area when the final whistle ended the contest.

In what is becoming a pattern, the men started Saturday’s match against Colby slowly. The Ephs were not making easy passes, and the energy level was low. Fortunately, Colby could not capitalize, and Williams led the possession battle right from the start. This was evident  in the third minute, when forward Malcolm Moutenot ’17 attempted a cross that flew right into the arms of Mules goalie Avery Gibson, who had to tip it to himself to gain control of the ball.

Looking for an offensive spark, Head Coach Erin Sullivan ’96 boldly substituted in Damian Gass ’20, Eric Hirsch ’19 and Andrew Matthew ’20, three players making their season debuts. In the 43rd minute, a shot by Malcolm Singleton ’18 was deflected right to Gass, who, in his first five minutes of collegiate action, converted this chance to put the Ephs up 1–0 going into halftime.

Colby started out the second half much more aggressively. Jansen Aoyama took a free kick and rocketed it past Alcorn into the net to tie the score at one apiece. After this, however, the Mules’ offense went quiet and could not put together a sustained offensive possession as the Ephs continued to press into Mules’ half of the field.

Off of a corner in the 71st minute, tri-captain midfielder J.C. Bahr-de Stefano ’17 hit a rocket wide right, Williams’ best opportunity of the half to this point. Riding this momentum, in the 78th minute, Rashid dribbled down the right side of the field and passed to Sisco-Tolomeo, who put in his team-leading second goal of the season to give the men the lead.

“It’s been a pleasure coaching this team,” Coach Sullivan said. “We believe our squad and this senior class have the potential to achieve something very special this season if we remain humble, united and resilient through the inevitable highs and lows.”

Williams finishes its six game homestand on Wednesday, hosting RPI at 4:30 p.m.

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