Williamstown, MA- On an overcast, rainy afternoon in the Berkshires, the Williams Ephs battled for 110 minutes to a 1-1 draw with the Endicott Gulls.
The Ephs run their record to 2-1-0 (1-0) while Endicott's record falls to 3-1-1.
Williams coach Erin Sullivan was impressed with his teams' weekday performance, saying, "...Midweek matches are always a little different, coming out of class, and just the challenge of flicking the switch...Endicott is a fiercely competitive team in a very good conference...they hit a goal early and that forces you to really chase the game a little bit, and I was very pleased that we answered with an equalizer...We just didn't have quite enough connection and quality to finish the match."
The match started out slow for Williams, as the first 10 minutes were characterized by lackluster ball placement and uninspired runs. This was compounded by the boundless energy that Endicott provided right from the beginning of the half. There was almost always a Gull on or around the ball, which seemed to overwhelm Williams right from the beginning. This flaw was exposed quite early on in the 3rd minute, when Endicott forward Diego Maillo gathered the ball on the top of the left side of the box and rocketed it right over Eph goalie Christian Alcorn's head to open the scoring.
This tone continued for several more minutes, but Williams would soon wake up. In the 17th minute, off of a corner, midfielder David Madding poked the ball towards the right side of the net, but it was saved by Gull goalie Nick Weinstein. Fortunately, junior defender Tobias Muellers was there for the rebound, and slotted it past Weinstein for the equalizer. This goal lit a fire under the Ephs, who played with renewed energy for the rest of the match. In the 22nd minute, Madding hit another rocket towards the net that looked like a sure goal, but Weinstein surprised everyone, including himself, and stopped the ball to preserve the tie. The half ended with several more Williams chances, none of which resulted in a score.
Several fouls at the beginning of the second half established a more punishing style of play that dominated the rest of the match. Williams continued to pick up in speed and effort, as forwards Mark Sisco-Tolomeo, Mohammed Rashid, and Malcolm Moutenot all had several special runs over the course of the half, but none was able to give the Ephs the lead. The last 20 minutes saw an Endicott offensive onslaught, punctuated by a chance in the 73rd minute from forward Dario Neukom that was shot so hard it will almost certainly leave a mark on Greg Andreou's back, as he jumped up to heroically block the possible go-ahead score.
However, Christian Alcorn and the Williams defense stood strong against all comers and preserved the tie. The intensity continued to ratchet up over the course of the half, reaching peak levels during the last five minutes of regulation, but neither team was able to convert, sending both Williams and Endicott into its first overtime match of the season.
The Gulls started OT on the offensive, using excellent clearances from midfield and pinpoint header placement to keep the ball driving towards the Williams goal. This idea was punctuated by a potential goal nullified by an offsides call in the 92nd minute, giving Williams renewed life for the remaining 20 minutes. Unfortunately, neither team could take advantage of that time. The closest either team came was in the second overtime period, when Eph midfielder JC Bahr de Stefano stuck his leg up to meet a throw from Moutenot. This came so close to ending the match that Weinstein had to tip it to himself to gain control of the ball, but alas, it didn't, and the tie stood.
On the match, Weinstein recorded five saves, while Alcorn recorded zero saves.
Williams continues its six-game homestand on Saturday, playing host to Colby at noon, while Endicott hosts Curry on Saturday at 7 p.m.