Men’s Soccer Powers Past Conn. College

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Men’s Soccer Powers Past Conn. College

By Colin McIntyre

The Middlebury men’s soccer team (2-0-1, 1-0-1) opened the season before classes began with a home draw against ninth-ranked Amherst, followed by two shutout victories this week at home against Norwich and in New London against Connecticut College. 

On Sunday, Sept. 7 the men played in front of a large home crowd as they looked to knock off the three-time NESCAC champions.  

The Panthers were nearly successful, coming within 20 seconds of the upset, and eventually settling for a double overtime tie.  Both sides recorded shots throughout the game, with an apparent Greg Conrad ’17 goal called back for a handball and a sinking volley from Amherst saved by Greg Sydor ’17.  Sydor recorded his first start for the Panthers in goal with 7 saves.  

Middlebury opened the scoring in the 81st minute with a long throw-in from Tim Ogle ’17. 

Ogle’s range allowed him to whip the ball towards the goal, where it bounced off an Amherst defender and found the back of the net.  

Middlebury tried to hold on for the final nine minutes, and almost did until an Amherst throw-in wasn’t cleared and bounced around the penalty area. Lord Jeff senior Gabriel Wirz smashed a volley past Snydor to tie the game with 20 seconds remaining.

Though the Panthers were able to get three shots on goal, the score remained tied throughout the two overtime periods.  

“The Amherst tie was definitely deflating, but we had to look back on it as positively as we could,” Defender Deklan Robinsion ’16 said. “A tie against a top team is a solid start.”

The Panthers got the draw despite a slight deficit in shots on goal. The Lord Jeffs held a 13-11 advantage in that statistical area.

On Wednesday, Sept. 10, Middlebury hosted Norwich in a non-conference game and put up four goals in a routine win. 

Luis Echeverria ’17 recorded his first career goal off an assist from Adam Glaser ’17 in the 14th minute. The goal would prove to be enough, but Robinson was able to head home a long throw-in from Ogle 11 minutes later to give the Panthers a two-goal lead headed into halftime. 

In the second half, Glaser opened his scoring for the season with two goals. The first was a beautiful shot out of the air from the right side, across the face of the goal; Kirk Horton ’17 recorded the assist on the strike.  Glaser recorded his second goal six minutes later, off an assist from Conrad after a scramble in front of the net.  

Both teams cycled out their starters for most of the second half, as Norwich failed to generate scoring chances on a regular basis. Sydor recorded the shutout with two saves. Although the Panther’s starters rested towards the end of the game, the team continued to attack the goal.

“Going into these games it’s sometimes tough to get the same atmosphere, as many of them are midweek games, but that’s something that we have to generate from within,” said co-captain Noah Goss-Woliner ’15. “We have to make sure that we come out firing and not concede any goals. Having a good non-conference record is vital if we are trying to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, so being focused and making sure we get results out of this game is crucial.”

On Saturday, Sept. 13, Middlebury returned to their NESCAC slate against Conn. College.

Two goals to open the second half would be the only scores of the game, as the Panthers shutout the Camels on the road. Conrad provided the assists on both goals, laying off a throw in in the 47th minute for Horton to muscle home, and setting up Glaser’s third goal of the week in the 54th.  Sydor remained solid in goal, saving six shots to keep Conn College off the board.

“As a team, we’ve tried to instill a really positive and professional attitude around everything we do and I think that has helped us going into this season,“ Goss-Woliner said. “The younger guys have really stepped up and taken more responsibility, which has translated to production on the field. Greg Sydor has been phenomenal in net and we’ve gotten goals from several sophomores on the offensive end. The younger guys know they play an important role on the team and they have grown into it very nicely.”

Robinson’s header against Norwich was to be the only point for an upperclassman on the team, with the sophomore class recording every other assist and goal in the first three games.

Sydor earned the shutout, his second at this juncture in the season, with a gritty six-save performance in goal for the Panthers.

Middlebury racked up a 14-13 shooting advantage over Conn. College in the game. The Camels failed to score despite totaling 10 corner kicks to Middlebury’s one. 

Middlebury sits tied for 3rd in the NESCAC and will next host Bowdoin (1-2-0, 0-2-0) on Saturday, Sept. 20 at noon. The Polar Bears finished fifth in the conference a year ago, one spot ahead of Middlebury.

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