Williamstown, MA- The Williams men's soccer team has been a notoriously strong starter over the past several seasons, and this year has proven no exception, as the Ephs beat Colby today 2-1 to continue their unbeaten streak.
The Ephs ran their record to 3-1-0 (2-0), while Colby drops to 1-2-1 (0-1-1).
Williams coach Erin Sullivan was very excited by his team today, saying, "Today was a very important result, league results aren't easy to come by in the NESCAC, so it was important that we broke through...Colby's a very difficult team to break down, they're organized and disciplined...fantastic to get the contributions we got late in the first half from some younger players..."
In what seems like a pattern, Williams started this match slowly. The Ephs weren't making easy passes, and the energy level wasn't high. Fortunately, Colby wasn't able to capitalize, and Williams led the possession battle right from the start. Right away, this was evident, as in the third minute, senior forward Malcolm Moutenot attempted a cross that flew right into the arms of Mules goalie Avery Gibson, who had to tip it to himself to gain control of the ball.
Colby wouldn't put together any notable offensive showings until the 25th minute, when a play reminiscent of the basketball "three-man weave" developed, resulting in a ground ball shot from sophomore Grady Jendzejec that was easily controlled by Eph goalie Christian Alcorn. However, with the exception of that chance, Williams dominated the first half. The Ephs were constantly in front of the net, but were unable to make anything happen, narrowly missing in all directions.
Looking for an offensive spark, Sullivan boldly substituted Damian Gass, Eric Hirsch, and Andrew Mathew, three players making their season debuts, and this would soon pay off. Finally, in the 43rd minute, a Malcolm Singleton shot was deflected right to Gass, who in his first five minutes of collegiate action converted this serendipitous chance to put the Ephs up 1-0 going into halftime.
Colby started out the second half much more aggressively, and this would show itself very quickly, when sophomore Jansen Aoyama took a free kick and rocketed it past Alcorn into the net to knot the score at one apiece. After this, however, the Mules' offense went dark, and was unable to put together a sustained offensive possession. That didn't apply to Williams, who continued to press into Colby's half of the field.
Off of a corner in the 71st minute, Eph midfielder JC Bahr de Stefano hit a rocket wide right, Williams' best opportunity of the half to this point. Riding this momentum, in the 78th minute, senior forward Mohammed Rashid dribbled down the right side of the field and passed inside to partner Mark Sisco-Tolomeo, who put in his team-leading second goal of the season to give Williams the lead with less than 15 minutes to go. Williams was able to stand tall on defense for the remainder of the match, and racked up its third win of 2016.
On the match, both Gibson and Alcorn recorded three saves.
Williams continues its six-game homestand tomorrow, playing host to Babson at 2 p.m., while Colby travels to visit Husson on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.