Men's Soccer | Jumbos slump to draw against Camels
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 07:10
Hoping to build on its 4-0 victory over Bates on Sept. 30, the men’s soccer team, who entered this weekend’s match 5-1-2 overall and 3-1-2 in league play, traveled to Conn. College on Saturday to face a Camels’ squad that was winless in conference matches with just a 0-2-3 record. Hardly an offensive powerhouse, the Camels had scored only one goal in their previous five league matches.
But this time was different, as the Camels looked impressive throughout the game and stunned the Jumbos by scoring in the 61st minute.
And even though the Jumbos responded just a minute later, tying the score at 1-1, 50 minutes of scoreless play ensued, forcing Tufts to settle for a disappointing 1-1 draw.
“With the talent that we have, we all were clearly disappointed with the result and even more so with our collective performance,” senior co-captain midfielder Rafa Ramos-Meyer said. “We were outworked by a very energetic and tough team that jumped on our inability to score in the first half.”
The Camels were the better team throughout the first half, outshooting the Jumbos 6-3 overall and ending the game with a 3-2 in shots on goal. Still, neither team looked particularly dangerous offensively after the first 45 minutes of play.
First-half struggles have become a problem for the Jumbos this season. Tufts has scored just five first-half goals, compared with 10 in the second half. The Jumbos have also produced only 43 shots in the first half, as opposed to 81 after halftime.
“We’ve definitely noticed it throughout the season,” junior midfielder Scott Blumenthal said. “We have been talking a lot as a team about how it is that we can get quicker starts, and we need to figure out how to play consistently for all 90 minutes.”
The Camels finally opened up the scoring in the 61st minute off of a corner kick from the left side. Sophomore defender Doug Garabedian took the kick and was credited with the assist on the play, as the ball swung from left to right through traffic in the box and ultimately fell to the foot of freshman defender Colin Patch, who chipped in the shot to beat junior goalkeeper Wyatt Zeller for the score.
The Jumbos responded just over a minute later, however, when Blumenthal scored his second goal in as many matches.
Senior co-captain defender Pat Bauer, who earned the assist, created the chance with a strong cross into the box from his position on the left side. Blumenthal controlled the pass and chipped the ball into the back of the net to beat junior co-captain goalkeeper Casey Marini and level the score at 1-1.
“Earlier in the game, I had noticed that the back post was very open,” Blumenthal said. “I got to the back post and saw [Bauer] had gotten open at the top of the box, and he played a great ball over the top to me.”
Despite the even nature of the match, the Jumbos had opportunities to win the match at the end of regulation and in overtime. Marini made a diving save on a shot from Blumenthal with just 1:11 left in regulation, one of his six throughout the match.
In the first minute of the second overtime period, sophomore forward Maxime Hoppenot fired a hard shot from about 20 yards out but was beaten by Marini, who punched the ball over the crossbar to preserve the draw.
Conn. College also had a great chance late in the match. In the 82nd minute, junior midfielder Kevin Burt hit the post on a shot from close range. Junior forward Billy Hawkey controlled the rebound but sent the point-blank try just over the bar.
In overtime, Tufts did a good job of neutralizing the Conn. College attack.
The Camels were unable to record a shot throughout the two extra periods.
After starting the season 4-0-0 and earning a national ranking for the first time in several years, the Jumbos are now clearly in the midst of a mid-season struggle, recording a 1-1-3 record in their last five matches against a few teams that are generally expected to finish in the bottom half of the NESCAC standings.
The biggest problem for Tufts has continued to be its offense. With the return of Hoppenot, Blumenthal, sophomore midfielder Gus Santos and junior midfielder Jono Edelman, among other scoring threats, the Jumbos might have expected to be a more dynamic offensive unit.