Men's Soccer | Men’s soccer stays perfect with win over Endicott
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 02:09
With heavy winds and rain pounding the Eastern Seaboard on Tuesday, conditions were far from ideal for a soccer match. But Tufts weathered the storm, grabbing a 2-0 win at Endicott College to improve to 4-0 on the season.
“It was a pretty rough game, because there was a lot of wind and Endicott came out to defend,” sophomore forward Maxime Hoppenot said. “They were basically going for a draw, and their game was pretty much to be physical and not let us play. We took a lot of hits.”
The defensive nature of the game, due to both the wind and Endicott’s game plan, led to a methodical first half.
“I thought we did a really good job of trying to keep the ball in the first couple of minutes,” senior co-captain Rafa Ramos-Meyer said. “We really played the way we wanted to, and although we didn’t get as many chances as we wanted to start, I think we started to get a lot more in the second half.”
Each team had only one shot on goal in the first half, with Endicott’s first good look coming in the first five minutes of play, on a shot by sophomore midfielder Jed Magnusson that was saved by junior keeper Wyatt Zeller. From there, Zeller and Endicott freshman goalie Austin Peluso were unchallenged until Peluso stuffed an opportunity from freshman midfielder Connor Brown with 10 minutes to go in the first half.
But after a quiet first half for both sides, Tufts came out strong in the second, and, with the wind at its back, fired four shots on goal, making Peluso work hard the rest of the way.
“In the second half, we really took over,” Hoppenot said. “We had a ton of chances, and then Rafa kind of picked up the ball at the 18-yard line and smacked one in.”
Ramos-Meyer attributed his 75th minute goal to the efforts of the team and the work they did in keeping possession.
“It was just a matter of time, when you hold the ball so much and you do a decent job of it. Eventually, we were going to get something,” Ramos-Meyer said. “Everybody did a great job of maintaining the ball and staying focused, and, finally, we got a shot.”
On the Jumbos’ end, Zeller only had to deal with one shot in the second half, earning his third shutout in four games.
Hoppenot, for his part, added some insurance with a penalty kick, calmly sinking his fourth goal of the year in the 86th minute to give Tufts a 2-0 lead.
“It was a gritty victory,” said Hoppenot. “It was good for the team to get a win like that under our belts.
The Jumbos had to play with the added pressure of a freshly minted No. 22 national ranking. But Ramos-Meyer was unfazed by the team’s recent accolades.
“Teams are probably going to come after us more, but to be perfectly honest, the ranking don’t mean anything until the last game of the season,” he said. “It really doesn’t mean anything, because we’re only four games in, and we still haven’t really proved much.”
As they look forward to Saturday’s home match against Colby, the team plans to prepare the same way it would for any other game, and refuses to the let their national ranking distract them from what’s in front of them.
“Every game in the NESCAC is a tough one,” said Ramos-Meyer. “It’s definitely going to be a good game, and I’m just looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd and getting people out there and supporting.”