New London, CT- The fifth seeded Williams College men's soccer team lost in heartbreaking fashion today in their NESCAC quarterfinal match against fourth seeded Connecticut College. After playing to a 3-3 draw in regulation and overtime, the game was determined by a penalty kick shootout which the Camels won 4-2. The win today was Connecticut College's first win against Williams in the NESCAC tournament; the Ephs had been 2-0 coming into today.
The Ephs dug themselves a hole in the first half, conceding two early goals to a Conn team that had an energetic start behind the support of a rowdy home crowd. The first Conn goal was the result of a counter attack after Williams brought men forward into the box on a set piece. Connecticut College freshman Chris Lockwood finished a one on one play with Williams junior goalie Christian Alcorn. Five minutes later, Lockwood made a nice endline run before threading a pass through to Matthew Bitchell, who put the ball in the goal and gave Conn the start that they were surely looking for. Some momentum was taken away when Williams junior Malcolm Moutenot went down in the box, drawing a penalty kick which was converted by senior striker Mohammed Rashid. Williams was lucky to end the first half only down one goal after being outplayed for most of the period.
Williams battled hard from the start of the second half, culminating in an equalizing goal from sophomore Mark Sisco-Tolomeo in the 60th minute. The goal opened the game up, with both sides pushing for a potential game winner. In the 75th minute, Rashid slipped a ball to Moutenot who found the back of the net to complete the comeback for Williams. From there the combined efforts of Alcorn and the Williams back four kept the Camels from finding an equalizer of their own until the final minute of regulation, when a free kick was conceded just outside the Eph's eighteen yard box. The shot attempt struck the post, rebounding to the front of the net where Connecticut College sophomore Graham Koval was lurking. Koval tapped the ball across the line with only six seconds remaining in regulation, prompting a roar from the home bench and fans in attendance.
The score remained knotted at three goals apiece for the duration of two overtime periods, sending the contest into penalty kicks. Connecticut College went first in the shootout and were quickly in control after going up 1-0 before Williams' first kicker, junior JC Bahr de Stefano, had his shot saved by Conn keeper Austin DaCunha. After two made penalties in the second round, Williams capitalized on a missed Conn attempt to even the shootout after three rounds. A made PK from Conn's fourth kicker and another save from DaCunha gave the Camels a chance to win the game on their own foot, a chance that they pounced on. Fans stormed the field after the final PK found the back of the net, marking a bitter ending to an up and down season for Williams.
Head coach Erin Sullivan said after the game, "Although we showed tremendous resilience today, we simply didn't do enough to close out the match and win. Our inability to finish chances and lack of killer instinct have been issues we've battled all season." The end of the game also meant the end of the careers of the four seniors that Wiliams has on its roster, midfielders Troy Ritter and captain Noah Grumman, defender and captain Geoff Danilack, and striker Mohammed Rashid. Sullivan lauded the group for their "efforts and sacrifices made for the program", adding, "the collective Williams soccer family salutes them".