WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS. – Eph Nick Boardman elevated and headed the ball to the left post, past Continental goalkeeper Thomas Benson to win the game in the 8th minute of overtime. His header came off an attempted header from Jamie Holland after a corner kick by Chris Fleischer. The defining goal in this high-intensity contest saw the Ephs improve to a record of (6-3-4, 4-2-2 NESCAC), while Hamilton's record changed to (6-6-2, 3-4-2 NESCAC).
Eph head coach Sullivan described the game as a "... see-saw game. Credit our team, we got some great contributions off the bench. We had lots of important moments in front of our attacking goal. Reality is we gave up a really early goal and a really late goal, and that's not a winning formula. We were fortunate."
The game started off quickly with lots of action. Hamilton needed only 3 minutes to convert a goal and edge ahead. After winning the ball in the defensive third, Roth Wetzel sent an aerial through ball up to Aidan Wood, who broke past the Eph defense and dribbled the ball up to the box, where he was one-on-one with freshman keeper Michael Davis. Wood looked at the goal, then down at the ball, before taking a perfectly placed shot into the right side netting that Davis was unable to stop.
Williams responded in the 12th minute of play, when the Ephs won a free kick in midfield. Defender Jules Oberg took the free kick, crossing the ball into the box. Liam Bardong jumped and directed the ball towards goal, but was denied by the rapid reflexes of Continental keeper Thomas Benson, who pushed it away from the goal. Demian Gass reacted quickly and ran in from the left side, where he tapped the ball in off the rebound to tie up the game.
The Ephs seemed to gain control over the game as the half progressed, though they did not put any more balls in the Continental net. At halftime, Williams had taken 10 shots (4 on target), while Hamilton had recorded 4 (1 on target). Continental keeper Thomas Benson made 3 saves, while Eph keeper Michael Davis had not yet recorded any.
The Ephs found themselves to be in the driver's seat at the start of the second half, managing possession and moving the ball up and down the pitch. At the 58th minute, they found an opening and broke the 1-1 deadlock. Much like their first goal, this one came from a Jules Oberg free kick in midfield. When the referee blew his whistle, Oberg swung the ball into the box towards the far right corner. Keeper Thomas Benson charged forward to collect, but before the ball touched his hands, Liam Bardong ran in from the right side and forcefully headed the ball past Benson and into the far side netting of the goal, giving the Ephs the lead for the first time in the game.
As the half went on, the Ephs seemed to get comfortable, and the Hamilton Continentals were able to create some threatening chances. In the 88th minute of play, Hamilton won a corner, which was taken by Aidan Wood. Wood took an in-swinging corner into the box from the right side. As the ball came into the box, a gust of wind picked it up and took it into the goal towards the far post. Keeper Michael Davis was unable to react and keep the ball out of his net, given the nature of the goal, and the teams were level once again. With his corner kick goal, Aidan Wood sent the two teams into overtime.
The Ephs came into overtime aggressively, trying to take back the victory that they were denied in the last moments of regulation. They connected good passes and communicated well as they moved up the pitch. In the 8th minute of the first period of overtime, they won a corner, which ultimately led to a Nick Boardman goal and Eph victory.
At the end of the turbulent game, the Ephs had taken 17 shots (9 on target), while the Continentals had taken 11 (3 on target). Eph keeper Michael Davis recorded 1 save, while Continental keeper Thomas Benson recorded 6. Each team committed 8 fouls over the 98 minutes of play.
"We got a lot of good performances. The group that came off the bench in the second half was really strong and it's a testament to our depth. I think our guys worked hard. I think we need to be a deep team to be successful in the postseason. Today was a good example of that," Eph head coach Sullivan commented.
After another overtime victory, the Ephs look to continue their two-game win streak as they play Bowdoin away on Saturday, October 26. Meanwhile, the Continentals look to rebound after their tough defeat as they play Connecticut College on Saturday, October 26.