WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Williams junior Matt Muralles scored the game-winning goal in the 82nd minute to give the Williams College men's soccer team (2-0-0) a 1-0 win over Westfield State (2-1-1) at Cole Field, Wednesday afternoon.
The lone goal in the second half came off of a free kick out of the midfield from Williams College junior Andrés Burbank-Crump, who lofted the ball into the box, where Muralles was waiting with a glancing header to beat the Owls' senior goalkeeper Kris Carrington.
The goal was a long time coming for the Ephs, who had been heavily pressuring the Owls' goal for a large part of the game, outshooting Westfield 28 to 4 with 11 corners to the Owls' none. Nine of the Eph shots were on goal, while only one by Westfield was on target.
The Ephs' first good chance came in the the 11th minute on a series of four consecutive corners that involved a strong Owls' defense blocking several shots. On the ensuing counter, Owls sophomore Kevin Bengle forced a nice save out of senior Ephs goalkeeper Peter Morrell.
The next good chance of the game came a quarter of an hour later when Owls freshman Tyler Martins gave up a free kick only twenty yards away from his own goal. Burbank-Crump took the ensuing free kick, which deflected and hit the right goalpost, rebounding to Ephs sophomore Jonathan Westling, whose shot sailed just over the crossbar.
The Ephs continued to pressure an inspired Owls defense right out of the gates of the second half. A series of very fine passing between junior Chris Seitz, senior Matt Kastner, and Muralles resulted in a shot from Muralles that went just wide of the right post.
As the Ephs' pressure continued to build, it looked as if the Ephs would break the deadlock in the 62nd minute when Westling put the ball into the back of the net from the top of the penalty area, but the goal was disallowed for a foul on a Owls defender as Westling tried to create space for himself to get off his shot. The Owls took the free kick quickly to counter the Williams attack, and Bengle managed to get off a good shot from the top-right side of the box that went just wide of the right post.
The solid back-and-forth play continued, and it was only three minutes later when more good play from the Ephs required a pair of good reflex saves from Carrington, before he finally was able to grab a cross out of midair. After the game, Coach Russo was quick to point out the stellar performance by Carrington: "I thought they had a really good goalkeeper, today. He made some incredible saves for them."
However, the in-form Owls defense could only hold for so long, as Muralles broke through in the 82nd minute with his first goal of the season to give the Ephs a 1-0 lead. The lead would prove to be good enough as a solid Eph back line recorded its second clean sheet of the season.
Eph head coach Mike Russo also remarked: "We played with a lot of intensity in the heat. We have a very good bench. We used the bench, so I don't think there was a let-down in pressure on them….I thought we had some good flank service but again just a split-second late in getting the balls into the box."
Williams' next game is away at Trinity on Saturday at noon. Westfield State plays away again at Springfield, also at noon on Saturday.