WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — Sophomore Jonathan Westling's lone goal in the 31st minute carried the Williams College men's soccer team (9-4-0, NESCAC 6-3-0) to a comfortable 1-0 win over Bates College (4-7-2, NESCAC 0-7-2) as strong gusts of wind swept across Cole Field.
Westling's goal came just past the 30-minute mark after a relatively uneventful first half. On a counterattack, freshman Malcolm Moutenot lobbed a ball out of the deep midfield up to Westling, who beat Bobcat junior Sean Moyo to the ball. Westling streaked down the right side to the touchline, where he sent a cross into the box that flew over everybody's heads. Freshman Patrick Gordon managed to run the ball down before it rolled over the byline, however. Gordon then sent the ball back into the box toward the back post, where Westling was all by himself to make up for his poor cross moments before, having no difficulty heading the ball past sophomore keeper Joe Maffly-Kipp.
Besides the goal, there were very few chances in the first half for either team.
The only other good chance of the first half came less than three minutes into the first half. Junior Chris Seitz did very well to win a fifty-fifty ball in the midfield and passed up the right wing to senior Matt Kastner, who took a single touch to lay the ball off to junior Matt Muralles. Muralles then slid a through ball out to the right wing, where sophomore Mohammed Rashid collected the ball an shot from a tight angle, forcing a good save out of Maffly-Kipp.
Williams ended up taking 13 shots in the first half, but they were unable to stretch their lead to two goals with any of their chances. The outstanding Williams defense, led by the center-back tandem of junior Luke Pierce and sophomore Geoff Danilack, seemed impenetrable, allowing just three shots in the first half, with none of them on goal.
The second-half was much more lively than the first, as the Ephs came out looking hungry for a second goal.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Muralles showed some skill to work his way around defenders on the left wing. He then laid off to Rashid who sent his cross across the face of the goal to Moutenot on the right side of the penalty area. Moutenot appeared to have a golden opportunity to put the ball into the back of the net as Maffly-Kipp struggled to cover the cross, but Moutenot rifled his shot over the crossbar.
The Bobcats had their best chance of the game to equalize in the 57th minute. Maffly-Kipp collected a cross and punted the ball up the field to senior Tyler Grees, who headed the ball out to the right wing, where junior Tyler Schleigh was waiting to lob a through ball toward the box back toward Grees. The ball, however, floated over the head of Grees but fortuitously landed at the feet of Moyo, whose ensuing shot was fired toward the upper-left corner of the goal, forcing a great save out of senior keeper Peter Morrell.
The Ephs had another good chance to double their lead fifteen minutes later through junior Zach Grady. While the Bobcats were playing with ten men because freshman Jack Martell was receiving treatment for a knee injury, Grady received the ball on the right side of the Bobcat penalty area, where he created enough space to launch a bullet under Maffly-Kipp's right arm, heading straight toward the left corner of the goal, but Bobcat senior left-back Dan Remillard was able to body-block Grady's shot before it found the back of the net.
Pierce's and Danilack's solid performances at the back, combined with Morrell's performance in goal, ensured that the Ephs' defense recorded yet another clean sheet.
The Ephs had 27 shots total on the day, but only 7 of them were on goal.
After the game, Ephs coach Mike Russo expressed some concern over the finishing of his squad: "I thought we should have had two or three goals in the first half, but we squandered opportunity after opportunity. Soccer is a game that can change in a moment. They may have had only one shot in the first half, but all they needed was one goal and the game would have been tied. We won 1-0, however, and that is the bottom line."
The Bobcats had 11 shots total on the day with 5 of them on goal. Williams had 11 corners to Bates' 2, and Morrell had 5 saves to Maffly-Kipp's 4. The game was refereed very tightly with 17 fouls called against each team.
The Ephs next play at home on Wednesday against Hamilton at 3 PM. The Bobcats also play again on Wednesday at 3 PM but away against Colby.