November 1, 2012
Williams Slated to Host Men’s Soccer Championship
|Quarterfinals - Saturday, October
#1 Williams def. #8 Connecticut College, 2-1
#2 Amherst def. #7 Middlebury, 4-0
#3 Wesleyan def. #6 Trinity, 2-1
#4 Tufts def. #5 Bowdoin, 3-0
|Semifinals - Saturday, November
|hosted by Williams
#1 Williams tied #4 Tufts, 0-0 (2OT)
Williams advances on Penalty Kicks, 4-2
#2 Amherst def. #3 Wesleyan, 1-0
|Championship - Sunday, November
|hosted by Williams
#2 Amherst def. #1 Williams, 2-0
HADLEY, Mass. – Top seeded Williams will
continue its quest for a seventh conference crown this weekend when
it hosts the 2012 NESCAC Men’s Soccer Championship at Cole
Field. Action will get underway with a pair of semifinals on
Saturday. Williams will kick things off against fourth seeded Tufts
at 11:00 a.m. before second seeded Amherst and third seeded
Wesleyan square off at 1:30 p.m. Advancing teams will meet for the
NESCAC championship on Sunday at noon. At stake will be an
automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Video will be available for
all three games.
In what turned out to be a regular season for the ages, longtime
rivals Williams and Amherst finished in a dead heat with matching
8-0-2 records. The teams both tied Wesleyan and played to a
scoreless draw in their meeting on September 6. After exhausting
all other tiebreaking procedures used by the conference, a coin
flip was needed to determine final seeding.
Williams (13-0-2, 8-0-2 NESCAC) survived a scare in its
quarterfinal round contest against eighth seeded Connecticut
College on Saturday. After falling behind 1-0 in the early going,
the Ephs used goals from junior forward User
Kushaina and senior midfielder Patrick
Ebobisse to extend their unbeaten streak to 15
First year forward Mohammed Rashid has made
an immediate impact for Williams, recording 13 points on four goals
and five assists. Kushaina has scored five times. Meanwhile,
Ebobisse has dished out four assists. The Ephs have surrendered
just seven goals over their first 15 games thanks to the
outstanding play of senior goalkeeper Than Finan,
who leads the NESCAC with a .921 save percentage.
Though the Ephs have come out on top six times since tournament
play began in 2000, they have not advanced to the finals since
winning in 2009.
While Williams struggled in its opener, Tufts (9-3-3, 5-2-3
NESCAC) made a statement with a 3-0 triumph over fifth seeded
Bowdoin. Junior midfielder Scott Blumenthal
(Simsbury, Conn.) found the back of the net twice in the contest to
run his season total to five. Since falling 1-0 to Williams on
October 13, the Jumbos have strung together three straight wins
over league foes. They will be making their first appearance in the
semifinals since 2001.
Sophomore forward Maxime Hoppenot has set
the tone for Tufts with 17 points on seven goals and three assists.
Classmate Gus Santos has also been effective
on the offensive end, scoring five times. The Jumbos will be
looking to advance to the finals for the first time. They fell 1-0
to he Ephs in last year’s quarterfinals.
Second seeded Amherst (13-0-2, 8-0-2 NESCAC) began its title
defense with a convincing 4-0 victory over seventh seeded
Middlebury on Saturday. Four different players scored goals for the
Lord Jeffs, who ran their unbeaten streak to 15 games. Their last
loss came to Stevens in the sectional semifinals of last
year’s NCAA Tournament (11/19/11).
Amherst is in the midst of one of the most impressive seasons in
conference history. The Lord Jeffs will enter the weekend as the
league leaders in both goals (47) and goals against (2). Their
high-powered offensive attack has been paced by senior
Spencer Noon (Farmington, Conn.), who is a lead
candidate to repeat as NESCAC Player of the Year. The forward
currently sits atop the conference leaderboard with 26 points and
11 goals. On the defensive end, first year goalkeeper
Thomas Bull (Montgomery, N.J.) has needed to make
only 23 saves en route to a goals against average of 0.14.
The Lord Jeffs are the first team in conference history to be
denied the top seed after an undefeated regular season. Williams
went undefeated in league play in 2000, 2003 and 2005. Meanwhile,
Wesleyan posted a 6-0-3 mark in 2009.
Amherst will need to get past a talented Wesleyan (9-3-3, 6-2-2
NESCAC) squad to have a chance at its third NESCAC title. The
Cardinals punched their ticket to the final four for the sixth time
in program history with a 2-1 triumph over sixth seeded Trinity on
Saturday. Senior forward Walter Rodriguez (North
Plainfield, N.J.) found the back of the net for what proved to be
the winner with just under five minutes remaining in regulation.
Classmate Rory O’Neill (Silver Spring, Md.)
also scored his fifth goal in the contest.
Wesleyan will enter the weekend with high aspirations after going
toe-to-toe with both Williams and Amherst during the regular
season. Much of the team’s success will be dependent on the
play of senior goalkeeper Adam Purdy (Montclair,
N.J.), who has tacked on seven shutouts to his impressive career
marks this season. The Cardinals earned their lone NESCAC title in
2005 with a 3-2 victory over the Lord Jeffs.
Results for the NESCAC Men’s Soccer Championship will be
available at the completion of each day on the NESCAC website.