Men’s soccer falls 1–0 to Tufts in critical conference tilt

Tufts edged visiting men’s soccer (8–3–3, 5–3–1 in the NESCAC) 1–0 in a game played on a slow turf in a fairly steady rain.

Both teams had difficulty mounting offensive forays. Williams managed only three shots on goal and Tufts fired seven.

Tufts scored the only goal of the game at 7:11 when Gaston Becherano scored off a feed from Kevin Lawson. The Becherano tally came on Tufts’ first shot on goal. Tufts created the goal out of a turnover just outside the Eph penalty area, as Lawson threaded the needle, finding Becherano deep in the box for what would prove to be the game-winner.

In the first 45 minutes, the Ephs had two shots on goal and the Jumbos mustered three shots.

Eph tri-captain goalie Christian Alcorn ’17 stopped two of the three Jumbo shots, while Tufts’ Scott Greenwood stopped shots by the Ephs’ Greg Andreou ’19 at 3:23 and Malcolm Singleton ’18 at 9:23.

In the final seven minutes of the game, the Ephs increased pressure on Greenwood, firing off two shots (one on goal) and earning two corner kicks, but the late attempts failed to result in a score and the Jumbos emerged victorious 1–0, despite the strong defensive effort anchored by tri-captain Kevin Mercadante ’17.

Both teams had three corner kicks in the contest and both were whistled for 11 fouls.

Williams leads the all-time series versus Tufts 41–7–2. However, Tufts has won the last three games in the series and the last four games played in Medford, Mass. The Ephs’ last win in Medford was in 2007, 2–1. Tufts entered today’s game with a six-game unbeaten streak that included NESCAC wins over Amherst, Middlebury, Connecticut College and Trinity and a 2-2 tie with Hamilton.

Each of the last four games for Williams had gone to OT or double OT and the Ephs were 2–0–2 in those four contests.

On Oct. 19, the men seized a crucial 2–1 overtime victory against league foe Hamilton. After a tense first half which saw a goal by Sean Dory ’19 offset by a Hamilton tally, the Ephs seized the momentum in overtime to capture the crucial conference victory, as Chris Fleischer ’20 slotted home a score after an outstanding defensive takeaway by Eric Hirsch ’19.

“We’re excited for the playoffs. We got to play the first round on our home field and which is an opportunity that excites us. We want to go out and make a statement on our home field this Saturday,” tri-captain J.C. Bahr de Stefano ’17 said.

With one game now remaining in the regular season, Tufts sits in second place in NESCAC, while the Ephs are in third. Yesterday, Tufts traveled to Bowdoin and Williams hosted Middlebury for all-important league games which will determine seeding for this weekend’s first round NESCAC tournament matches. Results came in too late to report.