Men’s Soccer Earns Championship Weekend on Home Turf

Men’s Soccer Earns Championship Weekend on Home Turf

By Andrew Rigas

The Middlebury men’s soccer team advanced to the NESCAC tournament semifinals on Saturday, Oct. 31 by stomping Trinity 5-0. Adam Glaser ’17 continued his record-breaking season by setting the program’s career assist record and earning NESCAC player of the week.

The Panthers defeated Bates 4-1 on Saturday, Oct. 24 and Williams 1-0 on Wednesday, Oct. 28 to clinch the second seed in the tournament, hold off Tufts, and extend their winning streak to six games.

At Bates, Middlebury fell behind 1-0 for the fifth time in their last six NESCAC games when Noah Riskind found the back of the net in the third minute for the Bobcats. Playing from behind, the Panthers outshot the Bobcats in the first half, but the score remained 1-0 entering the halfway point.

Greg Conrad ’17 tied the game in the 60th minute off an assist from Glaser, and less than a minute later, Tim Ogle ’17 put the Panthers ahead.

“The team has shown resilience,” Head Coach David Saward said. “We’ve got an inner belief that even when we give up a goal we can get back into it.”

In the 78th minute, Conrad scored his second goal of the game off another brilliant setup from Glaser. Daniel O’Grady ’19 added one more for Middlebury in the 86th minute, as the Panthers sealed a 4-1 victory, outshooting Bates 26-3 and staying a half-game ahead of Tufts in the standings.

Heading into their regular season finale against Williams, the Panthers could clinch second place in the NESCAC with a win.
The Panther defense did its job all afternoon, but the offense could not breakthrough in regulation so the game went to overtime. A little under five minutes into overtime, Glaser passed to Kyle Moffat ’19 who attacked Williams’ net. Drawing the keeper out, Moffat went back to Glaser, and the junior one-touched Moffat’s feed into the empty net from a difficult angle for the game-winning goal.

The Panthers finished the regular season with a 13-2-1 overall record and a 7-2-1 mark in the NESCAC. With that record, Middlebury grabbed the second seed in the NESCAC tournament and drew seventh-seeded Trinity in the quarterfinals on Saturday, whom they had come behind to beat 2-1 two weeks earlier.

Trinity almost struck first again when Sam Milbury got free down the right side and launched a shot from 12 yards out but missed just over the crossbar in the 17th minute.

Three minutes later, Glaser drove down the left side with pace, feeding the ball to Conrad in the middle, who touched it back to O’Grady. The midfielder played a beautiful little chip over the defense to Luis Echeverria ’17, who slid his shot past the Trinity keeper for the first goal of the contest.

Glaser put tremendous pressure on the right side of the Trinity defense when he attacked carried the ball along the left again and sent a cross through the air to the middle. Echeverria was in the right place at the right time once again, and headed the ball towards the net. Domenic Quade stopped the first attempt, but Echeverria got to the rebound first and knocked his second goal past Quade.

Middlebury persisted offensively, but Quade made a nice save on a shot by O’Grady off a pretty setup from Conrad. O’Grady then set substitute Jeremy Barovick loose down the left side with a pass, and Barovick made a nice cut into the middle only to see his left-footed shot sail way left of the mark. The Panthers still held their two-goal lead with 45 minutes between them and a berth and the semifinals, and needed one more strong half to get there.

“In the first fifteen minutes of the second half, we defended efficiently. They never really got a look at the goal,” Saward said. “But we didn’t really have the ball much, and we didn’t really make any inroads.”

In the 72nd minute, Glaser sent in a corner kick that Moffat directed from his head to Conrad’s before Conrad finished it off.
“The corner kick is a bit of our bread and butter right now,” Saward said. “We’re big and strong and pretty good in the air. That goal really killed the game off.”

With that assist, Glaser became the all-time assist leader in program history with 23, breaking Baer Fisher ’09’s and Kyle Dezotell ’03’s record of 22. Three minutes later, Conrad’s deft pass set up the speedy Glaser who raced past the defense and powered a shot past Quade.
“Glaser’s goal was wonderful,” Saward said. “He can do that.”

Tyler Bonini ’16 made history for the Panthers in the 82nd minute when he tapped in a goal off assists from Echeverria and Tom Dils ’17, scoring Middlebury’s record-setting 46th goal of the season and breaking the 1998 team’s record of 45 goals in a single season.
Middlebury secured the 5-0 win, and Greg Sydor ’17 did not have to make a single save.

As the highest seed remaining, the Panthers host the semifinals and championship on Nov. 7-8. They will matchup with eighth-seeded Wesleyan on Saturday while Connecticut College and Bowdoin will play in the other semifinal game.