Men’s Soccer | Tufts plays to a scoreless draw
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013 09:09
In a game that featured stellar goalkeeping, the men’s soccer team was unable to break through and settled for a 0-0 double-overtime draw against Plymouth State.
The Jumbos came into Tuesday’s action on a roll, winning four of their last five games including, most recently, a 2-0 victory over nationally ranked Brandeis. On the other end, the Panthers entered Tuesday with a 2-4 record and were coming off a 5-0 loss to Keene State.
“It takes a full team effort to win any game,” junior defenseman Sam Williams said. “The key for us right now is consistency. We’ve had some great wins, but we’ve followed those up with a couple of disappointing results in midweek games on the road. We just have to take it one game at a time and impose our style of play on other teams, especially on the road.”
Tufts came out firing and played like the better team for much of the contest. The Jumbos outshot the Panthers 15-4, and outnumbered them in corner kick opportunities by a margin of 8-1. They controlled the time of possession and the pace of play, generating chance after chance.
But Plymouth State’s freshman keeper Felix Lindeberg was nearly flawless in net. Lindeberg, who came to Plymouth from Sweden and was making only his second career start Tuesday, notched eight saves and single-handedly kept his team in the game. He stopped three shots on goal in the first half, and denied junior forward Gus Santos on a line-drive shot midway through the second half.
Tufts continued to apply the pressure late in regulation and in the overtime periods, but every time he was tested, Lindeberg responded to the challenge. A header almost slipped between the bars in the last minute of regulation, but Lindeberg got a fist on the ball and was able to punch it out. Then, in the final minute of the first overtime session, Lindeberg deflected two shots that were struck in quick succession by sophomore midfielder Connor Brown and junior midfielder Kento Nakamura.
Lindeberg’s performance overshadowed what was yet another great game from Tufts freshman keeper Scott Greenwood. The Panthers had their share of chances as well, especially late in regulation and in the overtime periods. But Greenwood kept the Panthers off the board, in what was his fourth shutout of the year in just six games.
“We have been playing well as a defense this year and keeping a clean sheet is our priority in every game,” Williams said. “That doesn’t come just from a strong back line but starts with the pressure from our forwards and midfielders in order to turn our opponents over farther up the field.”
“Our backline has been incredible,” senior tri-captain Scott Blumenthal added. “We believe they’re going to keep the ball out of the net each game, and Scott Greenwood has been phenomenal in goal.”
The Jumbos are now 4-1-1 on the young season, and will look to get back in the win column when they travel to Amherst on Saturday to take on the Lord Jeffs. Tufts is 2-1 in NESCAC play this year, and Saturday’s matchup will present another early season in-conference challenge. Amherst, currently the No. 1 team in the NESCAC, has yet to lose a game this season, boasting a 3-0-1 record in conference action and a 5-0-1 mark overall.
“Amherst is always an exciting team to play,” Williams said. “They’re a perennial NESCAC power and always tough but we treat them like any other opponent. It should be a battle and a physical game. I think everyone on the team will be up for it and hopefully we can have some success.