BRUNSWICK, MAINE – Nick Boardman tackled a Bowdoin attacker and dribbled the ball up to midfield, where he passed it to Jules Oberg. Oberg sent a through ball to Chris Fleischer, who took a touch and did a quick skill to beat the defender on him. He then looked up and, from almost 25 yards, fired a missile into the far right corner of the goal to put the Ephs ahead. Polar Bear keeper Michael Webber barely reacted as the ball left Fleischer's boot and flew into the back of the net. This 9th minute goal would be all the Ephs needed to secure 3 points against rival Bowdoin, though they went on to score one more. With the win, the Ephs now sit at (7-3-4, 5-2-2 NESCAC), while the Bowdoin Polar Bears rest at (6-4-4, 1-4-4 NESCAC).
The game started with intensity, and Williams turned up the pressure from the first whistle. In less than three minutes, they had created two scoring opportunities, though they were denied an advantage in each instance. In the 9th minute, Fleischer scored an absolute screamer, and the Ephs went ahead.
The Polar Bears' first threatening chance came in the 25th minute, when Drake Byrd was tackled in the Eph's final third as he dribbled the ball up. After being taken down, Byrd quickly got up, won back the ball, and from just outside of the box, aimed a shot with his left foot into the top left corner. The ball flew just wide of the post, but put pressure on the Ephs. Just a minute later, the Polar Bears won a free kick that Max McPherron curled into the box. Ryan Houseman ran and jumped towards the ball, making contact with his head. The ball flew past Eph keeper Michael Davis and looked as if it would be the equalizer, but it flew just past.
Williams, under lots of pressure, started to play more aggressively, taking the ball up the pitch with purpose. In the 41st minute, they converted once again. Jake Saudek came in for Nick Boardman. Moments later, as the Polar Bears played the ball back to defense, defender Dylan Reid tripped. Using his fresh legs off the bench, Saudek sprinted forward, collected the ball meant for Reid and, from the edge of the box, slid the ball low past charging keeper Michael Webber, and into the back of the net, doubling the Ephs' lead.
The goal took the Ephs into halftime, ahead of Bowdoin by two goals. In the first 45 minutes of play, the Ephs had recorded 8 shots (6 on target), while the Polar Bears had recorded 6 (2 on target). Eph keeper Michael Davis made 2 saves in the half, while Polar Bear keeper Michael Webber made 4.
The Eph midfield was especially commendable. "Our midfielders were outstanding today. They won the battle in the trenches and kept the team connected in all phases of the game," Eph head coach Sullivan commented.
The second half kicked off with less intensity than the first, as the Ephs settled with their lead and began to play more conservatively. They kept more possession of the ball and did not seem to urgently want to take the ball up the field and put shots on goal. Meanwhile, the Polar Bears, who were down by two, played aggressively, pushing forward, though ultimately to no avail. Their best attempt at goal came in the 65th minute when Brian Bae won the ball in midfield and fired a shot at the top right corner of the goal from outside of the box with nobody in front of him. Michael Davis lept off his line and dove to his left to just barely push the ball outside of his post and preserve his clean sheet.
In the end, the Ephs were able to maintain their advantage, and they were victorious over the Polar Bears. In the second period of play, the Ephs had only recorded 1 shot, while the Polar Bears had recorded 3. Eph keeper Michael Davis was forced to save 2 shots on his net, while Polar Bear keeper Michael Webber was unchallenged in the second half.
Head coach Sullivan reflected on the win: "Strong team performance today on both sides of the ball. It's exciting to see our team gaining form and confidence at the most important point of the season… We're starting to become a more consistent attacking team that can produce goals in many different ways. It's important that we continue to stay active, create for one another, and take intelligent risks in the right areas of the field."
With the victory, the Ephs establish a win streak of three wins, which they hope to extend on Tuesday 10/29, when they face Middlebury. Meanwhile, the Polar Bears, who also play on Tuesday, prepare to face rival Tufts.