Lewiston, ME -- Coming off of a loss to archrival Amherst Saturday, the Williams Ephs needed a big win today against Bates and a big win they got, using goals from Malcolm Moutenot and Mark Sisco-Tolomeo to a 2-0 shutout.
Williams improves to 6-1-1 (3-1), while Bates drops to 3-3-2 (1-3-1).
Eph head coach Erin Sullivan was impressed by his squad, saying, "Today was a total team effort that produced a critical road result. Our attacking play continues to be very dynamic, but it was our stingy defensive effort against a spirited side that made our goals stand up and secured the victory."
The Ephs came out of the gate hungry on offense. The starting 11 looked ready to play, and Williams players were hustling to every ball up and down the pitch, recording five shots in the first 20 minutes. Bates couldn't immediately match this energy, and the Ephs took advantage in the 18th minute when senior Malcolm Moutenot got the ball from forward partner Mark Sisco-Tolomeo and immediately sniped it past Bates goalie Robbie Montanaro for his first goal of the season and Williams' first goal of the match.
The Bobcats tried valiantly to make offensive chances throughout the first half, but Williams outhustled and outplayed them almost every time, as Bates recorded just one shot on goal in the first 45.
It's unknown what coach Sullivan said to his team at halftime, but it had an immediate impact. Less than two minutes into the second half, Eph defender Kevin Mercadante played a ball ahead to forward Mark Sisco-Tolomeo, who found himself in the box with Montanaro and flicked it right by him to give his squad a two-goal lead.
Rather than be content with the 2-0 lead,Williams maintained its tactics of ball pressure and possession, and it continued to work in their favor. Bates players were never unmarked, and as a result, recorded just one total shot in the first 35 minutes of the second half.
However, the last ten minutes took on an added intensity. The Bobcats started to match Williams' ferocious energy. Their passes were much more well placed and timed, and their runs became more precise. This stretch of excitement resulted in two corner kicks in the last 10 minutes for Bates, and two shots within inches of the net, a header by Matt DiVite and a flick from Peabo Knoth, both of which were blocked by Eph defenders. Anytime the ball got near Williams goalie Christian Alcorn, a teammate was there to clear the ball away, force it out of bounds, or take possession. It was clear Alcorn's defense did not want to let him down, and they certainly did not, helping him record his fifth clean sheet of the season.
After the match, Sullivan sounded ready for the remaining month of intense NESCAC play, saying, "We had a number of players achieve firsts today and we have great belief in the competitive depth of our squad. Our senior leadership continues to propel us forward and we're keen on to turning the corner into the month of October."
On the match, Montanaro had eight saves, while Alcorn recorded one save.
Williams continues its road trip next Saturday against NESCAC foe Connecticut College at 2:30 p.m., while Bates travels south to face conference rival Trinity next Saturday at 1:30 p.m.