Williamstown, MA—Williams (8-2-4/3-2-4 NESCAC) took on Tufts (12-1-1/7-1-1 NESCAC) at Cole Field this afternoon. This match marked the last regular season home game for the Ephs, and the team used this opportunity to honor their seven graduating seniors: Captain and defender Tobias Muellers, captain and forward/midfielder Tom Young, goalkeeper Bobby Schneiderman, defender Milan Jones, forward/midfielder Malcolm Singleton, senior Mark Sisco-Tolomeo, and midfielder David Madding. Head Coach Erin Sullivan explained, "Today we are highlighting the seniors, and who they are, and their careers here. We hope there's a lot of soccer ahead for this group."
The game began and intensity was immediately high. The ball moved rapidly back and forth across the field as one team's offense would surge ahead, only to be shut down by the other's defense. Their were several strong scoring attempts on each side, but none came to fruition until the first period's halfway mark.
The players were crowded in front of the Williams goal when Zach Lane was able to momentarily break away. His shot went straight into the goal, giving the Jumbos the match's first point.
This score was closely followed by a high-tension play at the other end of the field. With around 20 minutes remaining to the half. First-year Eph Nick Ranieri took a penalty kick and shot the ball straight to goal. Tufts goalkeeper, senior Bruce Johnson, made the save but collided with a teammate, sending the ball out of bounds and giving Williams the corner. Chris Fleischer passed the ball in, and Demain Gass jumped to volley it to goal. This shot, too, was saved, and play moved back out into the field.
Despite several close offensive plays, there was no further score in the half.
The second half of the game began with as much intensity as—if not more than—the first. Within the first 10 minutes, a player from each team had made a shot on goal—Sterling Weatherbie for Tufts at 38:58 and junior Sean Dory for Williams at 37:04. Coach Erin Sullivan says, "It was a spirited second half by us, and I was proud of the performance of the seniors."
Play continued to bounce from one side of the field to the other. The Jumbos continued to hold a strong defensive position, but the Ephs were able to make several near attempts at the goal. According to their coach, "They really played their hearts out." Especially during the final 15 minutes. Williams came close to scoring quite a few times. Still, the Tufts defense managed to hold off the Ephs and the match closed with a 1-0 win for the visitor.
"Part of our effort," says Coach Sullivan, "is to make sure we win the race to 1. Today we didn't win the race to 1, and so we had to be able to strike back. I thought the equalizer was there today for us. What I like is that we created opportunities; what I like is that we kept coming back again and again."
The Ephs became just the second team this season to out shoot the No.4 ranked Jumbos who have allowed just one goal this season. Williams out shot Tufts on the day by a margin of three - 9 to 6. The Ephs' nine-game unbeaten skein (5 wins and four ties) was ended today with just their second loss of the year in 14 games.
The Ephs will next be taking the field on the road in thier final regular season match-up against Middlebury at 3:00 PM on October 24. This game will help solidify the final standings for the NESCAC teams advancing to the NESCAC Tournament on Sat., Oct 28.