Troy, NY—Williams College (2-0) took the field against RPI (3-1) Wednesday night. The match was high stakes for the Engineers, whose rivalry with the Ephs dates back to 1922, when they defeated the Williams team in their school's first recorded soccer game. Since then, the Engineers have not fared as well against Williams, with the Ephs leading 23-15-2 in the pair's all-time record. Confidence bolstered by a win in the season-opener against Trinity this past Saturday, the Ephs were eager to maintain their winning record against RPI.
Through the first several minutes of the game, the two teams seemed about equally matched. When one team would seem to have ball control, making a move to the offensive, the other's defense would sweep in and drive the opponent out. The ball moved back and forth across the field seemingly without stopping until, toward the ninth minute of play, Williams players gained the offensive. In a beautiful kick from the far right side, senior Malcolm Singleton sent the ball sailing into the net off a feed from Greg Androu at 7:45.
The back-and forth continued fairly consistently for the remainder of the half, with a definite skew towards the Williams offensive. The Ephs made good use of their opportunities on offense, and the team was leading with 7 shots to RPI's 1 at the half. Of these shots, 4 of those by Williams players were on goal, but after the first goal each was saved by RPI goalkeeper, sophomore Matt LaBranche. Senior Bobby Schneiderman, Williams goalkeeper, defended the single shot on goal by RPI's Steven Collins, senior and team captain.
Despite the low number on the score board, Williams seemed clearly to dominate the offensive by the end of this game. The Ephs ended the match with a total of 15 shots, 8 of which were shots on goal. Sophomore Demian Gass led this count, posting 5 of the 15. Sophomore Bobby Fabricant followed with 3, then senior Mark Sisco-Tolomeo with 2, and finally junior Scatt Macdonald with a single shot. Junior Gregory Andreou posted the game's sole assist.
On the Engineers side, sophomore Brandon Pirog posted 2 shots in addition to Collins' shot on goal from the first half. Both of these came during the final 10 minutes of the game. Following a few shots and several substitutions from the Ephs in quick succession, Pirog seized the opportunity to take the first of these shots. This moment sparked a period of high intensity from the RPI offense, which seemed to take heightened energy from the approach of the game's end. The Eph defenders remained strong, however, and despite spending much more time on the offensive during this part of the game than they had previously, the Engineers were only allowed the one other shot—a header by Pirog with 2:11 on the clock.
"We had a solid team effort tonight," noted Eph head coach Erin Sullivan. "Several players stepped up and made key contributions in a gritty road win. It was important to get our first shutout of the season against a potent offensive team."
The game finished with Singleton having scored the only goal.
One obvious difficulty the Ephs faced during this game was a large number of fouls. While the Engineers had 6 fouls by the game's close, Williams posted three times as many, at 18. This could be one factor that kept the team from making a greater mark on the scoreboard.
Happy about collecting a road shutout victory, Sullivan stated, "Our team is responding to some early season challenges and evolving quickly. Still there is considerable room for improvement in our possession and finishing and we believe we can find more consistency in both areas."
The Williams men will be taking the field again this coming Saturday, continuing their series of away games with a NESCAC match at Colby, in Lewiston, Maine. Play will begin at 1:30PM.