Men's Soccer | Tufts downs Plymouth State, improves to 2-0-0 on season
Santos, Hoppenot score in 3-0 victory over Panthers
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 08:09
The men's soccer team struck early and never looked back, beating Plymouth St. 3-0 in its first non-conference match of the season. With the win, Tufts is off to a perfect 2-0-0 start but will be tested this weekend in a road match against perennial NESCAC powerhouse Wesleyan.
Tufts’ first goal was created by sophomore midfielders Kyle Volpe and Gus Santos, who linked up several times for scores as freshmen last season. Volpe, playing in the center of the midfield, found Santos, who had gotten past his defender on the left wing. After corralling the pass, Santos, the reigning NESCAC Rookie of the Year, finished the breakaway with a low shot to the right corner to beat Panthers senior goalkeeper Bjorn Ohlsson and give Tufts the lead in the 18th minute.
“We started better,” coach Josh Shapiro said. “I think the energy was a little bit higher, and I thought our urgency to get the ball moving and spread them out was better in this match.”
In the 38th minute, Santos struck again, this time after earning a penalty kick by beating his defender and getting tripped in the box. Santos stepped up to the spot and calmly beat Ohlsson once again to double Tufts’ advantage heading into halftime.
It was a dream start for Tufts, which was sloppy early on against Middlebury in their first match, generating only two first-half shots. This time, however, Tufts was dominant from the very beginning, giving Shapiro the opportunity to play a slew of non-starters in the second half.
“The goal is to get to that two-goal cushion early and give yourself a chance to get some new players a rep and get a look at as many guys as you can,” Shapiro said.
Tufts essentially sealed the victory in the 54th minute when sophomore forward Maxime Hoppenot found a ball at his feet in the box and beat Ohlsson to his right with a low shot. Sophomore defender Sam Williams kept the play alive with a header at the top of the box and was credited with the assist.
At that point, Shapiro emptied his bench, bringing on a total of eight substitutes throughout the match. Five freshmen saw game action, including defender Connor Schaible and midfielder Connor Brown, both of whom made their starting debuts for the Jumbos. Schaible and Brown are part of a freshman class that lacks the star power of last year’s freshmen but, according to Shapiro, will play a vital role on this year’s team.
“This freshman class maybe doesn’t have the flash of a Gus Santos or Maxime Hoppenot,” Shapiro said. “But there’s at least four or five of them that are going to be very valuable and are going to play quite a bit.”
On Saturday, Tufts will head to Middletown, Conn. to take on Wesleyan, a team that they lost to 1-0 last season. The Cardinals, like the Jumbos, are perfect this season, having beaten Bowdoin on Saturday 1-0. According to senior co-captain Rafa Ramos-Meyer, a midfielder, the Jumbos will have to be at their best to top Wesleyan and maintain their perfect mark.
“I think it’s going to be a great test, possibly the greatest test of the season,” Ramos-Meyer said. “They have a lot of good returning players, and we’re really going to find out what we’re made of.”