Middlebury, VT- The Williams men's soccer team went to overtime for the seventh time this season today in their game at Middlebury College and left with their fourth loss out of those seven games. Adam Glaser, a junior striker for the Panthers, made sure that Middlebury (12-2-1/7-2-1 NESCAC) will be the No. 2 seed when the NESCAC Tournament kicks off this weekend with his goal five minutes into the first overtime period. Williams (7-6-2/4-5-1 NESCAC) will be forced to travel to play its first game of the conference tournament. Connecticut College, as the No. 4 seed, will host the fifth seeded Ephs on Saturday.
Wet conditions combined with the slickness of the turf field at Middlebury made for tricky conditions to generate scoring chances in the run of play. Set pieces were abundant on both sides of the field throughout the game and often led to dangerous chances.
Williams junior midfielder JC Bahr de Stefano almost put the Ephs on the scoreboard early after picking the pocket of a Middlebury defender and ripping a shot that sailed just wide of the goal. A few minutes later, junior Malcolm Moutenot threaded a pass through to senior Mohammed Rashid just inside the penalty box, where he was shut down by Middlebury goalie Greg Sydor, who recorded five saves in his seventh shutout performance this year. Sydor's counterpart between the pipes, Williams junior Christian Alcorn, was called upon a couple of times during the first half, making two impressive saves to keep the game scoreless at the break.
Williams carried play through most of the second half, recording four of their five shots on goal during the period. The closest scoring chance for the Ephs all day came three minutes into the half, when a long throw in from Moutenot was flicked on to the head of Rashid, who rang the crossbar with his attempt before the ball was cleared by Middlebury. Tempers flared off of another Williams set piece when senior Noah Grumman undercut Sydor as he leapt for the ball. Play resumed after both were given yellow cards for their conduct. Legitimate scoring chances were few and far between for both teams, however Middlebury had many set piece opportunities. Glaser leads the NESCAC in assists with twelve in large part due to his ability to find the heads of Middlebury's taller players off of corner kicks. That threat combined with the long throw in capability of Middlebury junior Tim Ogle kept the Ephs defense busy. The two Williams centerbacks, senior captain Geoff Danilack and sophomore Tobias Muellers, led a strong effort to minimize the damage off of Panther set pieces.
Just before Glaser's game winning goal, a ball in behind the Williams back line found the foot of Middlebury junior Greg Conrad. When Alcorn came out of his net to challenge the play, Conrad volleyed an attempt over his head. The two watched closely as the shot flew just over the bar. Two minutes later, Williams brought numbers forward to try and capitalize on yet another set piece, a gamble that left them open at the back to a quick counter by Middlebury. Freshman Kyle Moffat slipped a pass around a charging Alcorn, which Glaser was able to run on to and finish.
Williams head coach Erin Sullivan said "we had a better overall performance today but still not sharp enough to create the all important first goal." The Ephs will will look to be sharper on Saturday when they face Connecticut College in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC tournament. Sullivan laid out a few keys to success going forward, saying, "we've learned a lot from a challenging regular season schedule that has helped prepare us for a difficult postseason matchup. We know full well that gritty team defending, simplicity in front of goal, and execution will be essential to our success from this point forward."