Men’s soccer falls to Connecticut College, defeats RPI

Mandela Namaste

Last week, men’s soccer was edged by Connecticut College 1-0 but beat RPI 2-0.

Going into the Saturday match, Connecticut College had only allowed one goal all season. With such a stout defense from the Camels, the Ephs needed to be flawless on the attack, or else the Camels would capitalize. Unfortunately for the Ephs, imprecise passes and faulty footwork led to several unforced errors and potent early-half runs deep into Williams territory.

For the majority of the first half, neither team was able to score. Then in the 34th minute, Camel forward Liam Noonan won the ball back after a missed touch, worked a nice give-and-go with freshly-minted substitute Augie Djerdjaj and kicked the ball over Eph goalie Aaron Schein ’19, putting the Camels up one goal going into halftime.

Entering the second half, the Ephs found themselves down one goal to a nationally-ranked squad. Despite a defensive-minded strategy from the Camels, the Ephs managed to create several worthy chances in the second half. Speedy substitute Nathan Song ’22 headed a ball off a free kick that was saved by Connecticut Colleges AJ Marcucci in the 65th minute. Ten minutes later, Eph midfielder Greg Andreou ’19 curled a free kick around a wall of Camel defenders but was also thwarted by Marcucci.

Marcucci saved all five Eph shots on goal, recording his seventh clean sheet of the season, while the Ephs’ netminder  recorded three saves on the day.

After the match, head coach Erin Sullivan was complementary of his team’s form but lamented a dismal finish. “We played well in stretches today and created enough chances to pull something out of the match, but we simply didn’t capitalize,” Sullivan said.

Last Wednesday, the men beat RPI 2-0. Will Felitto ’22 and Henry Osborn ’22 scored their first career goals, leading the Ephs to a 2-0 victory over the Engineers on Cole Field.

With veteran striker Demian Gass ’20 sidelined due to an injury, the Ephs started Felitto for the first time in his college career, and it didn’t take long for the young forward to validate his coachesbelief in him. Just over six minutes in, Felitto ran onto a ball on the left side of the box and crushed a shot that just went over the cross bar. Two minutes later, Felitto served up a point-blank shot that was stuffed by RPI goalie Matt LaBranche.

RPI soon gained offensive momentum. In the 12th minute, Engineer player Austin Betterly worked his way around an Eph back and made it to the end line, but his crisp cross was kicked out of play by Liam Bardong ’20.

After a fairly uneventful first half, the action started to flow more quickly. In the 50th minute, RPI’s Trevor McCaughey possessed the ball right in front of the net but turned to shoot before gaining full control, resulting in the ball flying out of bounds. Just minutes later, the Engineers roamed towards the Ephs’ net again, with midfielder Matt Menendez crossing the ball to Betterly, who then knocked it wide right.

In the 55th minute, Chris Fleischer ’20 worked his way down the right side of the pitch until he stood parallel with the goal. He turned inside and passed it to a streaking Felitto, who poked the ball in for his first career goal and first goal of the match. After drawing first blood, the Ephs looked to put the match out of reach, maintaining an aggressive style.

In the 60th minute, Fleischer worked a nice give-and-go with Eli Petrik ’21, who hit the ball just right of the goal. Williams doubled the score in the 83rd minute when Bobby Fabricant ’20 sprinted down the left side, drawing LaBranche out of his goal. Jules Oberg ’22 proceeded to back-heel the ball to Osborn, who feasted on the empty net for his first college goal.

LaBranche recorded two saves, while Schein had one save, recording his fourth clean sheet of the season.

After the match, Sullivan praised his squad’s ability to win while not playing its best match. This team is just trying to find a killer instinct and do the little things right more consistently, and when other teams drop an assignment, we’re going to punish them, Sullivan said.

The men will travel tonight  to play at Skidmore at 7 p.m On Saturday, the men will face off Curry at 1:30 p.m.