WATERVILLE, MAINE – At the 86th minute of play, Colby's Colin Sullivan created space on the right flank, from where he sent in an out-swinging cross that Ethan Fabricant met with his head and directed into the goal. Eph keeper Michael Davis got two hands to the ball, but was unable to hold on and was ultimately left helpless as the ball hit the back of his net. This goal denied the Ephs a 1-0 victory over the Mules and forced the game into overtime, which ultimately finished in a 1-1 draw. After the game, the Williams Ephs now stand at a record of (3-3-3, 2-2-2 NESCAC) and the Colby Mules are at (5-4-1, 1-4-1 NESCAC).
The game started with high intensity as both teams attacked the ball aggressively and quickly moved the ball up and down the pitch. The Ephs' first opportunity came in just the 3rd minute when Nathan Song found himself at the end of a header from teammate Demian Gass. He ran up and fired a volley towards goal off his right foot, but just scuffed the ball wide. The Mules' first threatening chance came in the 11th minute, when they won a corner. Ryan Seaman took the corner and sent in an inswinging ball to teammate Jack Fletcher who attempted to drill the ball on the ground into goal. He did not get the contact he wanted, but the ball still flew on target towards goal, forcing Eph keeper Michael Davis to move off his line and elevate to keep the game scoreless.
At the 18th minute, the deadlock was broken, as the Ephs were able to put one in the back of the net. Will Felitto took a long throw-in from the left side of the pitch into the box. Jamie Holland surveyed the ball and got under it, from where he pointed it towards goal. Mule keeper Stanley Clarke saw the ball, but had little time to react. He leapt towards the ball and got a touch to it, but the ball still rolled into his goal.
After this goal, the Ephs seemed to gain more control over the game, but as the half progressed the Mules recuperated and started fighting harder for the ball. Towards the end of the half, they put pressure on Williams and were able to create menacing chances, though the Eph defense kept the ball away from the net. Overall, the half was played evenly by both teams and the game seemed as if it could go either way. In the first 45 minutes, Williams had recorded 6 shots and Colby had recorded 4, and keepers Michael Davis and Stanley Clarke had each made three saves.
The second half started with both teams struggling to get the ball into the opponent's final third. Both teams' defenses were strong and did not allow the ball past their back line. As the half progressed, however, Williams seemed to be gaining some traction and pushing up the field. They were even able to get a few long shots off, but were unable to challenge Stanley Clarke. As the half began to wind down, the Ephs lifted their foot from the pedal a little and played more conservatively in an effort to see the game out.
In the 86th minute, however, the Mules were able to put a ball into the box and Ethan Fabricant happily headed the ball into goal to equalize and secure the two teams a ticket to overtime.
The exhaustion after 90 minutes of hard play was evident in both teams, but wanting the win, every player pushed on. Both overtime periods saw little developed attack, and play was centered in the middle of the pitch, with possession changing frequently. A couple of promising chances came for both teams in the second period, but neither team was able to capitalize. The game ultimately ended in a 1-1 draw between the Ephs and Mules. Eph head coach Sullivan explained, "We played hard and earned a leg up in the first half but did not play with the level of intelligence and savvy we need to see a game like that out."
By the end of overtime, the Ephs shots totaled 14 and the Mules shots totaled 9. Eph keeper Michael Davis had made 5 saves in the game, while Mule keeper Stanley Clarke had recorded 10 saves over the 110 minutes. Williams played an aggressive game with 21 fouls compared to the Mules, who only had 9. Statistically, the game seemed to be dominated by the Ephs, but in terms of gameplay, the teams were relatively even, and the result showed just that.
Eph head coach Sullivan commented on the results: "Promising start but very disappointing result for our club. Hopefully we can start implementing the actual in-game adjustments needed to win matches like this."
Both teams look forward to their next games on Tuesday, October 8. The Ephs prepare to take on Skidmore at home, while the Mules get ready for an away game at the University of New England.