Colby Brings Men’s Soccer Back to Earth

By Colin McIntyre

The men’s soccer team lost their first game of the season on Saturday, falling 3-0 to Colby in Waterville. With their midweek victory over Colby-Sawyer, the Panthers move to 5-1-1 on the season, and 2-1-1 in the NESCAC.  

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, Middlebury traveled to New London, N.H., to face the Chargers in a non-conference fixture. The Panthers won 3-0 after a flurry of second half goals.  Middlebury was unable to convert any of their 16 first half shots, and the game was scoreless until the 61st minute when Kirk Horton ’17 scored his second goal of the season. He found possession in the opposing penalty area, and slotted the ball home. 

With the Panthers leading 1-0, Chargers midfielder Andrew Clothier was sent off for his second yellow card of the game, leaving the Panthers a man up for the final 25 minutes. Middlebury capitalized on the advantage with the first goal of the season for Noah Goss-Woliner ’15.  The captain one-timed a ball from Adam Glaser ’17 which went in off the frame to double the Panther’s lead. 

Goss-Woliner would service Horton’s second goal of the match two minutes later off of a corner kick.  

Middlebury held a distinct shots advantage, with 31 in the game, and 16 on frame. Greg Sydor ’17 turned away a Colby-Sawyer free kick with four minutes left with a diving save. His late effort was all that was required to keep his fifth straight clean sheet.

On Saturday, Sept. 27, Middlebury visited Waterville to take on Colby College. The Mules sat at the bottom of the NESCAC table with no points in three conference games so far this season in comparison to Middlebury, who was third in the league entering the contest. The Panthers left Colby with no goals, the first time that they had failed to score this season. They lost the game 3-0, snapping a defensive streak in which they kept opponents from scoring for over eight hours of play.  

In the first half, Middlebury had their chances, outshooting the Mules 7-3, but about 20 minutes into the contest, a cross from Colby ricocheted off of Middlebury resulting in an own goal. The goal meant that Middlebury trailed for the first time all season, and was the first allowed goal since the end of regulation against Amherst, before classes began.  

“I wouldn’t say that the score totally reflected the game,” co-captain Harper Williams ’15 said. “They scored a fortunate own goal in the first half and then two more in after we made some attacking changes with 20 minutes left. That being said, they worked really hard and in the end deserved the win.”

While Middlebury searched for an equalizer and pressured forward, Colby was able to slip in behind the Panther back line and score their second goal with 12 minutes remaining.  

Middlebury certainly had their chances, putting five shots on frame in the second half and taking seven corners to Colby’s five, but to no avail.  With four minutes left Yinka Onayemi, the Colby forward, scored his second goal of the game, solidifying a Mule victory and handing Middlebury their first loss of the season.

“You have to learn from games like this,” Williams said. “Good teams take this experience and use it to prevent something like this from happening again. We are really excited that we play Williams on Wednesday. It gives us a great opportunity to rebound from the loss this weekend and get back to winning.”

Williams made his first appearance of the season in the game. The midfielder returned from a high ankle sprain sustained in the preseason and came off the bench to record four shots on the game.  

Middlebury’s next home game comes on Saturday when they host Tufts. The Jumbos are undefeated in the NESCAC and ranked second to Amherst. Middlebury currently sits  in fourth in the NESCAC.