Williamstown, MA- On a day where defense reigned supreme, it was offense that decided the match, as Williams forward Malcolm Moutenot slotted home a ball in extra time to give the Ephs a 2-1 victory over Wesleyan, their first victory in almost three weeks.
Williams improves to 7-2-2 (4-2), while Wesleyan's record stands at 5-6-1 (2-5).
Wesleyan started strong in the first half, giving the Ephs an early scare in the third minute when freshman forward Alec Haas played a through ball right into a breakaway on Williams goalie Christian Alcorn, but his shot never got off the ground and Alcorn was able to corral it easily. The Cardinal also demonstrated a strong defensive presence early in the 8th minute, blocking a pinpoint pass from Moutenot to Mohammed Rashid near the net and blocking shots from Moutenot and Malcolm Singleton to preserve the scoreless tie. Williams' best chance of the first half came in the 15th minute, when sophomore midfielder Sean Dory got his head on a corner directly in front of Cardinal goalie Jack Katkavich, but headed it into the right post. While the score didn't suggest it, both sides showcased solid offensive creativity and were able to generate numerous chances, so it was only a matter of time before one teams' offense would break through.
The offensive surges from both squads continued immediately in the second half. Cardinal forward Mike Gallo had a chance right out of the gate, but was blocked by an Eph defender. In the 55th minute, Williams forward Eric Hirsch gathered the ball at the top of the box, and hit it towards the middle of the net, where it was saved. This relentless back-and-forth pace continued, until finally, in the 60th minute, Williams broke the tie. Mohammad Rashid took a free kick, the ball bounced twice, then senior defender Brandon Dory put it past Katkavich to break the scoreless tie. However, Williams' lead would not last. An Eph foul in the 65th minute led to a penalty kick for Wesleyan, and Charlie Gruner slotted the ball into the bottom right corner past a diving Alcorn to retie the match leading into the last 20 minutes of the match. However, after this five-minute stretch of offensive success, the defenses regained control and held steady until overtime. With under two minutes to ago, and again with about 30 seconds left in the half, Hirsch found himself in a position to give Williams the lead, but each time, he headed it just left, and the match headed into overtime.
Overtime didn't even last a full 10-minute half. Williams had many chances all match, but Wesleyan's defense stood strong, erasing all comers. However, this momentum would finally shift the Ephs' direction for good. In the 96th minute, Andrew Mathew took a throw-in, the ball exchanged feet twice, and Moutenot finished off the match with a thunderous boot in front of the net.
Eph coach Erin Sullivan lit up when talking about Moutenot's Golden Goal, saying, "We were anxious to get some of our weapons into the game, and one of those is a long throw. We were looking for our targets to be more stubborn... and Malcolm was the beneficiary."
On the match, Alcorn recorded two saves, while Katkavich recorded three saves.
Both teams continue NESCAC play tomorrow, as Williams hosts Bowdoin at noon, while Wesleyan travels to Middlebury for a 2:00 p.m. match.