Men’s Soccer Downed by Early Amherst Goal


By Andrew Rigas

The Middlebury men’s soccer team suffered a tough 1-0 loss at the hands of Amherst last weekend.
After breezing through a 10-0 victory against Green Mountain College last Tuesday, Sept. 15, the Panthers geared up to play their conference foe on Saturday, Sept. 19. Greg Conrad ’17, one of the team’s captains, believed that Tuesday’s victory was beneficial for his squad.
“There’s a takeaway from every game you play in,” Conrad said. “Regardless of whether you are the better side or not, it’s still the team’s responsibility to come into the game focused for a full 90 minutes. After reaching a comfortable lead, our objective then became a matter of keeping possession and pushing our speed of play.”
That mentality is necessary for a championship team, and Conrad, as one of the team’s leaders, recognizes that the Panthers can always get better as they try to achieve their potential as a contender for the NESCAC crown and beyond.
Entering the showdown at Amherst — ranked 10th nationally by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America — the Panthers had a chance to prove themselves. Both teams brought a 3-0 record to the matchup and neither team had yet to concede a goal in the 2015 season, so both offenses faced quite a challenge.
Amherst opened the game with the ball and quickly moved into the Middlebury half. The ball found its way to the head of Andrew Orozco on the left side of the box who sent it into the middle. Near the six-yard line, Christopher Martin headed the ball past Greg Sydor ’17 to give Amherst the lead just 27 seconds in.
After that point, the game became what it was expected to be: a dogfight. While Amherst outshot Middlebury 10-2 in the first half, both teams fired eight shots in the second half. With under 20 minutes left in the game, Sydor stepped up with two key saves on clear attempts at the goal, keeping the Panthers within striking range. Just minutes later, Adam Glaser ’17 controlled a cross around the six-yard line and shot. Amherst goalkeeper Thomas Bull denied the attempt and the ball rebounded into a scrum directly in front of the net, but the Lord Jeffs cleared the ball to keep their 1-0 lead intact. It would stay that way as the Panthers just couldn’t get one by Bull. In its tougher contests, the Middlebury offense has struggled to score, and Conrad and his teammates know that.
“In terms of the Amherst game, we definitely had our moments, but failed to convert,” Conrad said, “There has been a significant improvement in the quality of chances we have had and the overall buildup going forward over the past couple games, but we are still working on finding more creative ways to be dangerous in the final third.”
The offense certainly looked good, albeit against weaker competition in Colby-Sawyer, on Tuesday, Sept. 22 as the Panthers put up five goals in the first half of what was 6-0 romp. Controlling the game from the opening whistle, Glaser started the scoring for Middlebury in the 13th minute, finishing over the charging goalkeeper off the assist from Conrad and Daniel O’Grady ’19. The Panthers added three more goals in the next ten minutes as O’Grady scored his first career goal, Deklan Robinson ’16 headed one in, and Glaser notched his second of the afternoon and fourth of the season to continue his monstrous afternoon. In the 38th minute, Robinson, one of the team’s center backs, struck aerially again with his second header goal of the afternoon to give Middlebury a 5-0 lead heading into halftime.
With a continued emphasis on creating offense, Conrad powered one past the Colby-Sawyer netminder off a pretty setup by Philip Skayne ’17 four minutes into the second half as the Panthers cruised to a 6-0 win.
With the loss, Middlebury falls to 1-1 and a tie for fifth in the NESCAC. They return to the pitch on Saturday, Sept. 27 at Bowdoin and host Hamilton on Tuesday, Sept. 29.