Men’s Soccer Remains Tied After Double OT

By ERIK ARVIDSSON

MICHAEL BORENSTEIN/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS
A foul against junior Ben Potter set up senior teammate Daniel O’Grady’s early goal.

The undefeated Tufts team rolled into Middlebury for a conference clash against the Panthers last weekend. The Jumbos were welcomed by a classic Vermont day, grey skies and cold temperatures that made the Panthers feel right at home. A crowd of parents, siblings and alumni made for an exciting atmosphere. From the minute the opening whistle blew, it was clear Middlebury was in for a battle against the team which has won two of the last four national titles.

The Panthers started the match off by putting major pressure on the Tufts defense. No more than 120 seconds had passed when Middlebury struck first. Ben Potter ’20 was taken down in the box, and the Panthers were awarded a penalty. Captain Daniel O’Grady ’19 stepped up cool and collected to the penalty marker, hitting a confident shot past the keeper into the bottom right corner of the goal. 

“Getting the first goal so quickly was important because it gave us the belief that our game plan works and that we had every ability to win the game,” O’Grady said.

The Panthers kept up the pressure, but it didn’t take long for the Jumbos to equalize. In the 26th minute they found the back of the net on a set piece. Brett Rojas served a free kick into the penalty box, and Sterling Weatherbie managed to head it into the goal. The next 20 minutes saw possession being controlled by both sides. After 45 minutes the teams headed to the locker room all square at 1–1. 

The second half started quickly. Both sides had many chances, but neither team managed to find the net. At the end of regulation, Middlebury earned back-to-back corner kicks. This fired up the people in the crowd, many of whom were running back and forth between the men’s and women’s matches trying to will the Panthers to victory. However, it wasn’t enough, and at the end of 90 minutes the score remained tied at 1–1. 

MICHAEL BORENSTEIN/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS
Drew Goulart ’20 battles against a Tufts forward during the Saturday, Oct. 6 game.

In overtime, Middlebury kept up its physical style of play, disrupting Tufts’ chances to find the winning goal. Overtime matches can be long and grueling, but O’Grady again noted the importance of that first goal. 

“Even after conceding, the fact that we had been able to break them down so early helped us sustain our enthusiasm and energy for the full match,” he said.

The match ended with Tufts outshooting the Panthers 16–8 and earning nine corners as opposed to the Panthers’ four. As is typical for its physical style, Middlebury was called for 26 fouls, seven more than Tufts.

Despite tying the number-three team in the country, the Panthers were disappointed. 

“As a group we were pretty unsatisfied with the result,” Potter said. “Tufts is a good team, but we were disappointed to concede a set-piece goal after taking the lead so early on. Overall, it was a solid performance that we hope to build on moving forward. We want to be playing our best soccer at the end of the season, and I think we’re on the road to doing that.”

This past Monday, Oct. 8, the Panthers traveled to Utica, New York, for a non-conference matchup with Utica College. Middlebury outshot Utica 27–1 and earned 10 corner kicks to Utica’s zero. Goals from O’Grady, Brendan Barry ’22, Kye Moffatt ’19, Jacob LaBranche ’22 and two from Aidan Robinson ’20 led the Panthers to a whopping 6–0 win. 

On the horizon, the Panthers have a home match and an away doubleheader against NESCAC foes Trinity and Wesleyan, on Saturday and Sunday respectively. With the season coming to an end, every match at this point is important to helping the Panthers qualify for the postseason, and Drew Goulart ’19 thinks the guys have what it takes. 

“I feel confident going into the our last five games of the regular season,” Goulart said. “Throughout the season we have become a much stronger team and have begun to find our footing. The important part now is maintaining a fighting mentality and imposing our game onto any opponent we face.”

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Men’s Soccer Remains Tied After Double OT