WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS.- On a cold and damp Cole Field, the Williams College Ephs (4-1-3, 2-1-3 in the NESCAC) drew the Connecticut College Camels (6-0-3, 3-0-3 in the NESCAC) 0-0 this afternoon. Despite strategic possession and strong runs from both teams, neither could convert.
Before the game, the players, coaches, and attendees paused for a moment of silence to remember Pierre Meloty-Kapella '10, a beloved alumnus and former soccer player who passed away earlier this month.
In the first 10 minutes of the match, as the teams adjusted to the slick conditions, they completed several good passing sequences and runs. Mark Sisco-Tolomeo '18 had the best scoring chance after receiving a cross from Malcolm Singleton '18. He battled with Connecticut goaltender A.J. Marcucci, but the keeper punched the ball out-of-bounds, and the Camels easily cleared the Eph corner kick. Liam Bardong '20 and Eric Hirsch '19 both made impressive tackles, and Bobby Fabricant '20 displayed his footwork skills along the right flank. Connecticut forward Liam Noonan also ran well on the right side.
Both teams began to create opportunities around the 20-minute mark. The Camels earned a corner after their cross was knocked out, and Eph goalkeeper Bobby Schneiderman '18 had to step forward to punch a delivery from Noonan away. In the 28th minute, Demian Gass '20, who scored the game-winner against Skidmore on Wednesday, sent a beautiful ball toward Hirsch, who returned it to him and caused a scramble at the six-yard mark after Marcucci stepped off of his line, but the Ephs could not convert. Eli Petrik '21 attempted a shot from the 18 a few minutes later, but Marcucci handled it easily. Connecticut forward Christian Murphy sent a shot wide and repeatedly pressured the Williams defense.
During the final 10 minutes of the first half, both sides increased their speed. With 7:08 remaining, Schneiderman had to come out to the top of the box and challenge Camel midfielder Matt Butera, who had received a well-placed through ball. Kyle Brady '20 also launched a shot from just behind the 18, but it was saved by Marcucci.
In the first period, each team had four shots and two on goal. Williams registered eight fouls while Connecticut had six. Nick Ranieri '21 had a particularly impressive half. He made several smart runs and repeatedly interrupted Connecticut passing sequences with strong headers.
The first 15 minutes of the second half were more physical. Williams created some early opportunities, as Mark Sisco-Tolomeo '18 sent a beautiful ball into Singleton in the box, but he could not control it, and Marcucci made the save. Singleton redeemed himself on the next play as he showed off his speed and dribbling ability before sending a cross through the box. The two teams then alternated fouls but could not capitalize on the set piece chances.
Although the Camels earned a corner kick and sent several long throw-ins to the box, the Ephs threatened more in the middle of the second period. Sisco-Tolomeo sent a powerful ball in from a difficult angle on the right, but Marcucci was able to hold on to it. The Williams forward had another chance a few minutes later after Petrik turned well and slotted the ball toward him, but his shot went high. Chris Fleischer '20 launched a rocket from the top of the box, but Marcucci again made the save. Connecticut defenders Liam Donelan and Anthony Aquadro also played well, and the game remained tied at 0.
Both sides had opportunities as they sent numbers forward toward the end of regulation. In the 75th minute, the Camels had a corner kick, which led to a scramble in the box. A few minutes later, Fabricant made a run down the line and slotted the ball to Petrik. He switched fields to Brady, who took a shot by the 18. The ball was well-struck and appeared to be heading just inside the right post, but Marcucci made an incredible last-minute save. In the 85th minute, Schneiderman made an equally impressive and important stop after Murphy of Connecticut sent a shot into the box from distance. The Williams goalkeeper blocked two more shots in the final minute to send the game into overtime.
Each team had two corner kicks in the first extra time but could not score. Williams had some tactical passing sequences including a give-and-go between Petrik and Singleton. Sisco-Tolomeo worked hard and repeatedly traversed the field, and Gass positioned himself well and made several good runs. Connecticut looked for through balls, and Noonan did get behind the defense, but Schneiderman stepped up to make a great block then secured the ball. Singleton also took a shot and earned a corner after receiving a well-placed pass from Sean Dory '19, but neither side could put the ball in the back of the net.
In the second overtime, Connecticut amped up the pressure and quickly received a corner kick. The Ephs cleared it and earned a corner of their own after Marcucci fumbled a pass, but the Camel keeper was able to grab the ball off of the kick. The visitors almost had two chances from through balls in the final minutes, but they were called offsides, so the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
Connecticut outshot Williams 12-11, and both teams had 13 fouls. Additionally, the Camels received nine corner kicks while the Ephs had five. Schneiderman registered seven saves; Marcucci recorded six.
Head Coach Erin Sullivan '96 was glad to earn a point with the tie but emphasized that the team is still improving. "In our league, every point counts for so much. This game felt like it had a goal in it, but these points are sometimes what separates seeds at the end of the season. We're not satisfied, but it was an important point. It was a total team effort… that needs to continue. This was a grind today, but it closes the book on the first month. We believe we haven't peaked yet, so we're excited for what's ahead."