The Nescac fourth-ranked men’s soccer team (9–4, 4–4) earned their third consecutive 1–0 win against Trinity (3–9–1, 1–7–1) last Saturday, Oct. 14. The win came on what would be coach David Saward’s last guaranteed home weekend game; over 40 Middlebury soccer alumni, accompanied by hordes of students and parents, gathered on the sidelines to celebrate the win and Saward’s impressive career.
The opening half proved an offensive challenge for both teams. Fans were happy to see junior Daniel O’Grady take the field after missing two weeks of action with a partially torn meniscus. Despite having no shots on goal, Middlebury had a good chance on a cross from Drew Goulart ’20 which found the foot of Kye Moffat ’19 in the Bantam penalty area. Moffat’s close range shot drove just high of the crossbar, leaving the game scoreless going into the second half.
In the 60th minute, the Panthers were awarded free kick just outside the Trinity penalty area, which Ben Potter ’20 rocketed towards the goal, but Trinity goalkeeper Mateo Zabala was able to punch the shot over the crossbar. The resulting corner-kick would put the ball back in the Bantam penalty area, eventually finding Brandon Reid ’21, who was able to settle it in the top-left corner of the box. Facing away from the goal, he pivoted quickly on the ball and let a shot lace between two defenders, finding the upper-right corner on the net and leaving Midd on top 1–0 with 28 minutes remaining.
Excellent defense from the backline and two saves from goalie Jeremy Yeager ’18 would be enough to notch their seventh shutout performance in 13 games.
“Over the last three games our defense has really stepped up for us,” said Yeager.
“We are staying organized and compact in the back, and we have done really well at limiting the opposition to very few threatening opportunities. Our midfielders have also done a great job of winning 50/50 balls and pressing to win the ball back.”
Middlebury snagged a 1–0 non-conference win last Wednesday, Oct. 11, over Castleton with a goal from Drew Goulart and 3 saves from Yeager. The Panthers will face Bates (5–4–2, 1–4–2) this Saturday, Oct. 21, for their final regular-season away game.