LEWISTON, ME - Junior forward Eric Opuku scored his first two goals of the 2018 season to lead the Bates Bobcats to 2-0 victory over the previously undefeated Williams Ephs.
With this result, Williams drops to 3-1-1/NESCAC 2-1-1, while Bates improves to 4-2/NESCAC 2-2.
Like yesterday, the Ephs started out aggressive, creating multiple chances in the first half, but unlike yesterday, Bates proved up to the task of stopping the offensive onslaught.
In the 30th minute, Bobcat goalie Robbie Montanaro leaped to his left to stop a screamer from Nick Boardman '22, and a 38th minute chance from Eric Hirsch '19 was blocked. This defensive energy turned into offensive effort for Bates, and their attack was spearheaded by freshman forward Charlie Cronin's, persistent runs up the pitch bent the Williams defense out of shape.
In the 32nd minute, Cronon picked up the ball on the left wing and hit a ground-bound ball towards the net that was only just saved by Williams goalie Aaron Schein, and in the 38th minute, Cronin was inches away from easily scoring off a pass from junior midfielder Jordan Cannon, but Cannon's pass missed Cronin's foot.
Nobody knows what Bates coach Tyler Sheikh said to his squad during the 15-minute halftime, but it clearly made an impact. The Bobcats attacked early and often, and drew first blood in the 56th minute, when junior midfielder Peder Bakken ripped a ball that was deflected by Schein onto the waiting foot of Eric Opuku, who poked it home to give Bates a 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, the same tandem worked again. Bakken hit the post off of a free kick, and the ball bounced right to Opuku, who merely stuck his foot out and re-directed the ball into the net to double the Bobcats' lead.
Williams had several chances throughout the remainder of the half- notably a frozen rope from Chris Fleischer '20, but Montanaro and his defense played a tremendous match, displaying terrific awareness and cohesion to record the shutout.
Williams goalie Aaron Schein recorded four saves on the day, while Bobcat netminder Robbie Montanaro made nine saves in recording his fourth clean sheet of the season.
After the match, Eph head coach Erin Sullivan commented, "Disappointing performance today and a definite learning experience for us. We simply need to compete smarter to neutralize other teams' strengths, earn more possessions, and create more chances."
Williams hosts RPI on Wednesday at 4:30 PM, while Bates travels to face NESCAC rival Trinity next Saturday at 2 PM.