Williams overcomes first-half struggles to defeat Coast Guard 2-1

Tobias Muellers '18
Tobias Muellers '18

W A T C H  Highlights 

NEW LONDON, CONN.- In an out-of-conference matchup between strong defensive teams, the Williams College Ephs (6-1-3, 2-1-3 in the NESCAC) defeated the Coast Guard Bears (8-3-1) 2-1 this afternoon. Although the Bears possessed better than the Ephs and played confidently throughout a physical, fast-paced first half, the Williams back line kept the score tied at 0 after 45 minutes. The Ephs were more assertive and controlled the ball better after the break as Mark Sisco-Tolomeo '18 scored at 51:06, and Bobby Fabricant '20 doubled the lead just 30 seconds later. Greg Burnham posted a goal for the Bears at 65:48, but the Ephs held on to secure their second consecutive victory.

Coast Guard, which had won five straight games, possessed well at the beginning of the match. They passed strategically around the 18-yard line until Williams goaltender Bobby Schneiderman '18 stepped forward to punch the ball away. Brock Hassett also attempted a distance shot, but it sailed high. At 11:29, Patrick Palermo-Re nearly scored, but Schneiderman stretched out to push the ball just wide of the net.

Although the Williams defense- Nick Ranieri '21, co-captain Tobias Muellers '18, Scatt Macdonald '19, Milan Jones '18, and Andrew Mathew '19- prevented Coast Guard wingers from sending many crosses into the box, the Ephs struggled to keep the ball. And in the 23rd minute, Coast Guard threatened thanks to a powerful throw-in, but Ryan Dandan's header went wide. Soon after, Noah Harper launched a shot from 30 yards out, but Schneiderman punched the ball over the crossbar.

Toward the end of the first half, the Ephs began to create chances. Eric Hirsch '20 tried a shot from just behind the 18 that went high, and Eli Petrik '21 had an opportunity after Bears goalkeeper Greg Sorenson hesitated to step forward. Sorenson eventually came out, however, and secured the ball. Mathew also sent two long throws into the box, but the visitors could not convert.

At the break, Coast Guard led 9-1 in shots and appeared to be the dominant team. They made crisp passes and had excellent first touches while Williams had trouble controlling the ball.

When play resumed, however, the Ephs appeared reinvigorated. They competed with more energy and were able to keep possession better and generate some formidable attacks, particularly from set pieces.

About five minutes into the second half, Macdonald sent a free kick into a crowded six-yard box. Muellers headed the ball toward the net, but Sorenson punched it away for a Williams corner. Ranieri took the kick and fed Kyle Brady '20, who headed the ball to Sisco-Tolomeo. The forward put the ball into the back of the net for his second goal of the season.

A mere 30 seconds later, Fabricant sprinted through the Bear defense and scored with a low, powerful shot to double the Eph lead.

Both sides had more offensive opportunities as the half continued. Sisco-Tolomeo challenged Sorenson to win a corner, but the service was cleared. The Bear goaltender also interrupted a cross from Fabricant then dove to secure the ball in a crowded box on the next play. In the 66th minute, Hassett sent a free kick into the Williams box. Burnham headed the ball toward the net, and it ricocheted at the goal line and passed Schneiderman to make the score 2-1.  

Throughout the remainder of the game, the Ephs played more defensively in order to preserve their lead. Coast Guard did put the ball into the back of the net after a free kick in the 81st minute, but the referee had whistled to stop play before the shot was taken. Although the Bears had several more chances in the box, the Eph defense remained steady to secure the 2-1 victory.

Scheiderman had an impressive game with three saves and strong goal kicks and punts that helped the Ephs gain momentum on offense. Fabricant also hustled on both sides of the ball, and the back line remained composed throughout the match.

Overall, Coast Guard outshot Williams 12-8, but the Ephs had 6 shots on goal while the Bears had 4.

"Today's match was a tale of two halves, and the first half was certainly not ours," Head Coach Erin Sullivan '96 said. "Credit Coast Guard for coming out with a fierce mentality and making the game very difficult early on. Sometimes, you have to survive good spells by your opponent and grind through the tougher moments in the match. Once we adjusted to their speed and physicality, we had several breakthroughs and began to show our quality."

"It's always good to earn a hard-fought road result," he added. "We're still a work in progress and finding our way. This is an exciting team to be around, and we're looking forward to unlocking even more of our potential."

On Saturday, the Ephs will travel to Middletown, Conn. to face Wesleyan in a crucial Little Three matchup. The game will begin at 3:00 p.m.