Men’s Soccer Rebounds from First Losing Streak against Plymouth St.

Drew Goulart ’20

Middlebury Athletics Communications

Drew Goulart ’20

By RILEY PLANT

In their doubleheader weekend at home, the men’s soccer team (5–3–0, 2–3–0) suffered a 2–0 loss at the hands of the Colby Mules last Saturday, Sept. 30, and managed a 1–0 win over Plymouth State last Sunday, Oct. 1.

The shutout against Colby was not taken lightly by Middlebury, and on Sunday they outshot Plymouth 23–2 and put 10 of those on target, despite their only goal coming on a Plymouth own-goal in the 84th minute.

Middlebury felt immediate pressure in Saturday’s contest against Colby. Just 2:37 into the game, Colby’s Avery Heilbron got a foot on a loose ball in front of the Middlebury goal. Although the sure-handed Jeremy Yeager ’18 was able to deflect the shot, Colby’s Lucas Pereira beat out the Middlebury defense, collected the rebound and found the back of the net just moments later.

About five minutes later and still a goal down, Middlebury had a great chance to tie things up when Jeremy Barovick ’19 rifled a shot through the hands of Mule goalkeeper Avery Gibson. Despite getting through the keeper’s hands, Barovick’s shot just missed the crossbar.

On the other end, at the 22:36 mark, Yeager displayed a piece of masterful goalkeeping when he was confronted with three rapid-fire shots at the feet of the Mules. Yeager managed to save two of the shots, and the Panthers blocked the third.

At the 54:11 mark, Colby’s Pereira was fouled about 20 yards out, resulting in a free kick which Cam Clouse was able to slot in the upper left corner, leaving the score 2–0 for the Mules. Despite valiant scoring efforts from sophomores Fazl Shaikh ’20 and Drew Goulart ’20 in the late stages of the match, the Mules defense would reigned supreme on that particular day.

“Our standard is to never drop games, especially when we are playing on our home field,” Goulart said. “If we are unable to impose our style and and take control of a game then we look at that as a failure.

“We were unable to control the flow of the game and as a result failed to create any real chances,” Goulart said, lamenting the missed opportunity against Colby. “Fortunately for us we were able to collect ourselves after the game and get our redemption the next day against Plymouth.”

The following day, in a non-conference match against Plymouth State, Middlebury looked to have collected themselves. Despite only winning 1–0 off of an own goal by Plymouth, Middlebury possessed the ball well and created plenty of quality opportunities.

In the opening half, Middlebury managed 14 shots to Plymouth’s 0. One of the Panthers’ shots was an absolute rocket off the foot of Shaikh from 15 yards out. Plymouth goalie Linus Lindeberg made one of his nine saves in what was an admirable effort, in this particular instance making a spectacular diving save to deny the sophomore.

Middlebury hit everything but the back of the net until the 84th minute, when Goulart’s flurry of footwork got him to the goal line on the left side. Goulart created enough space so he could manage to let a cross curl towards the middle of the field, just in front of the Plymouth goal, where a parade of players waited. The ball made fortunate contact with a Plymouth defender and landed in the net, putting Middlebury on top for good, 1–0.

“Although we only scored one goal, I think the game reinstalled in us a confidence that we needed in order to move forward with a level head and get ready for a big weekend,” Goulart said. “As our legendary coach always says, ‘soccer is a game of moments’ — we created the scoring opportunities we needed but now we must capitalize on those moments.”

The Panthers take the pitch again this Saturday, Oct. 7, when they hit the road to take on a Tufts team that was ranked No. 3 in the national polls prior to suffering a 1–0 road loss last Saturday against Amherst.

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