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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Thursday, April 18, 2024

Tufts ties Bates 0-0 in double overtime, defeats Gordon

Tufts junior midfielder Zach Halliday slides into a kick in the victory against Middlebury on Oct. 10.

After a big Homecoming win against Middlebury last weekend, the men’s soccer team went back to work on Tuesday against non-conference opponent Gordon College and then traveled to Lewiston, ME on Saturday to face NESCAC foe Bates. The team emerged from the week with mixed results, defeating Gordon by a score of 1-0 and then tying Bates 0-0 in double overtime.

The Jumbos took to Russell Street Field on Saturday looking to improve their NESCAC record and improve to a tie in second place with Middlebury. While the defense held firm and kept Bates out of the goal for 110 minutes, the offense could not muster a goal despite a clear advantage in the number of scoring opportunities. Tufts shot a whopping 29 times with 14 on goal but could not put one past senior goalie Sam Polito. Among the Jumbos who had the most looks on Polito were sophomore midfielder Kevin Halliday and junior forward Nathan Majumder. Halliday shot six times with four of them on goal. Majumder, Tufts’ leading scorer with six goals, had another four shots, with three requiring a Polito save. Even after the initial 90 minutes, the Jumbos had outshot the Bobcats 8-4 over the two overtime periods and earned 10 corner kicks to Bates’ one of the game. Junior goalie Scott Greenwood added another shutout to his resume, needing to stop just four shots in the game.

"Our defense has been playing awesome," senior tri-captain midfielder Jason Kayne said. "They are truly the backbone of the team. [Junior] Dan Sullivan and [sophomore] Conor Coleman have done a great job filling a gap that many around the league thought [would] take time to fill."

Despite not capitalizing on its many chances, the team earned one point with the 0-0 draw. This would be the first time since 2009 that Bates recorded a point against Tufts, as the Jumbos have dominated the series since outscoring the Bobcats 10-0 over the last three games.

"I believe that the team learned that we need tenacity and grit when attacking the goal," Kayne said. "We can play pretty soccer and create opportunities, but without the will and desire, we won't be able to put the ball in the back of the net."

The tie moves Tufts into third place in the NESCAC, as its 4-2-2 conference record sits behind only Amherst (7-0-0) and Middlebury (5-2-1). Bates sits in seventh place in the conference with a 2-3-2 conference record.

"I think that we did really well to create chances against Bates," senior midfielder Rui Pinheiro said. "We obviously can get better [and] put some more chances in the back of the net, but I think it's a positive trend that we'll keep working on during practice and just have that final element. It was sort of a disappointing result for us to...only get one point instead of the three that we were looking for, but we have everything to play for going forward. We have a couple more NESCAC games, and we have the tournament coming up."

On Tuesday, the Jumbos played host to Gordon College and won a tight contest 1-0. Pinheiro scored a goal in the 17th minute on a 25-yard shot that beat Gordon junior goalkeeper Josh Spoonhour. Although Pinheiro currently leads the team in assists with three, it was sophomore Tyler Kulcsar who fed Pinheiro the ball in a comfortable position to score. Tufts shot 16 times with five shots on goal, but Pinheiro’s one goal was enough for the win. The Jumbo defense clamped down and shutout Gordon, which had only been shutout once in its previous 11 games.

"I found myself in the middle of the field with a good amount of space around me," Pinheiro said. "Kulcsar had the ball to my left, and their center defensive mid pressured him ... He was able to pass the ball to me. I just took one touch and saw an opening so I shot it. Keeper got a hand on it, but it went in."

Tufts has just three games remaining on the regular season before the NESCAC tournament, in which it's likely to have a berth. Tufts will play out-of-conference opponent Keene State on the road on Tuesday before facing its last two NESCAC opponents, Williams and Bowdoin, both teams that currently sit behind Tufts in the standings.