Men's Soccer | Tufts falls to Williams 2-1, drops third consecutive game
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013 02:10
In a heated NESCAC battle, the men’s soccer team jumped out to an early lead Saturday against Williams but was unable to hold off the Ephs, who scored two second-half goals en route a 2-1 comeback victory.
Tufts entered Saturday’s action after two consecutive losses, while Williams was coming off a gut-wrenching 1-0 loss to NESCAC rival Bowdoin. Both teams wanted this win, and came out of the gate with an aggression and intensity to prove it. But neither team was able to break through in the early moments despite back-and-forth attacking that produced some quality opportunities.
After weathering a Williams attack that looked promising in the 24th minute, the Jumbos cleared the ball up field and created what was their first real chance of the afternoon. With Williams’ defense on their heels, the Jumbos looked to push the ball. Senior forward Scott Blumenthal lofted a pass up field that found sophomore Connor Brown. Brown, with plenty of space and only one defender to beat, took a power dribble but let the ball get a little too far away from him, allowing the defender to possess and box Brown out. Frustrated, Brown took the Williams’ defender to the ground, picking up the game’s first yellow card. It would be one of 20 fouls called in the game.
The back-and-forth action continued, and in the waning moments of the first half the Jumbos finally broke up the scoreless affair. After a pair of shots by junior Kyle Volpe and sophomore Monil Patel were deflected away from goal by the Ephs backline, the ball trickled out to the top of the penalty box.
Sophomore forward Jason Kayne found himself in the right place at the right time, as he settled the ball and laced a gorgeous shot that snuck past Ephs keeper Peter Morrell’s outstretched fingertips and beneath the top-right upright for the game’s first goal.
Tufts entered intermission feeling good about a hard fought 1-0 edge. But the advantage didn’t last long, as Williams came out of the gate in the second half playing more desperate than ever. It didn’t take long for their aggression to translate into a goal.
In the 52nd minute, sophomore forward Mohammed Rashid led a Williams counterattack down the right flank. As he approached the Jumbo’s 18-yard box, Rashid lofted a perfect cross into the box, where senior forward Matt Kastner was waiting to deliver a strike. Kastner made good contact with the ball, but Greenwood made a great save on Kastner’s first attempt. Unfortunately, the ball ricocheted off of Greenwood’s glove right back to Kastner’s feet. Kastner wasted no time depositing the ball into the net for the equalizer.
With the score knotted at one apiece, the intensity picked up once again, as both teams looked to apply the pressure and come up with the decisive go-ahead goal.
It wasn’t until misfortune struck for the Jumbos in the 81st minute that the Ephs broke through. Kastner streaked past the Jumbos’ defense and found himself with only the keeper to beat. Greenwood broke from his line and dove for the ball, only to swipe Kastner’s legs out from under him and force the referee to show Greenwood a red card, resulting in an ejection.
The foul, which occurred just inside the box, meant a penalty kick for the Ephs. A cold Nick Moeser, Tufts’ sophomore keeper, ran from the sidelines directly into the line of fire, as he was tasked with stopping a late-game penalty kick from one of the best strikers in the NESCAC, junior Matt Muralles. Muralles fired a shot low and to the right side of the goal. Moeser guessed wrong, and the ball found the back of the net, giving Williams the late 2-1 lead. The goal turned out to be the game-winner, as Tufts was unable to create any great chances in the final minutes.
“To have 32 shots against MIT and not score is pretty unlucky, and it’s obviously tough to lose on a penalty kick against Williams,” senior tri-captain forward Scott Blumenthal said. “But in both those games we really feel like we got back to playing how we want to. Our confidence is far from shot. No doubt we would have liked different results in the last few games, but we’re playing good soccer which is what matters going forward.”
With the loss, the Jumbos fell to 6-5-1 on the year and dropped their third consecutive game by a one-goal margin, despite another hard-fought effort.
“Despite losing three in a row, the team feels good about how we are playing right now,” senior midfielder Sam Atwood said. “In the last two games we’ve been unlucky not to come up with better results. Going forward, we will need the number of goals we score to reflect the quality of soccer we’ve been playing.”