First place for men's soccer, 1-0 over Trinity
The Colby men's soccer team boldly opened their brand new season on Saturday with a 1-0 victory over the Bantams of Trinity College in a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) match. The win propels the Mules (1-0-0) into a tie for first place in the NESCAC and keeps the hope for an undefeated season alive.
Saturday's game had an early 11 a.m. start, allowing for a triumphant return to campus. Last year, Colby lost their home opener to the Bantams 1-0 on a goal by Samuel Wisner, known to many at Colby as Boston rapper Sammy Adams. Captain Ben Desmond '11 still has no love for Wisner and stayed true to his promise to shut out Trinity, or else "heads will roll."
The match opened up with a lot of coast to coast play but lacked the north-south play that characterized the second half. The Bantams, who are ranked ninth in New England, kept the pressure on for most of the game, as shown by their 14-7 shot advantage. However, goalkeeper John Gardiner '12 saved the four shots that did make it on goal and earned his first career shutout. The first half passed without too many great scoring opportunities with the exception of a near goal by Nick Aubin '13. Aubin slipped into the box unnoticed and delivered a shot that forced the Bantam goalie to make a diving save. The ball rebounded off his gloves, but the second shot was a bit sloppy and missed far post.
However, this all changed after head coach Mark Serjanian and the team's two new assistant coaches, Justin Domingos and Peter Ostergaard, took their team into halftime. Over some oranges and Gatorade, Colby's staff pumped up the Mules and brought out the team we all know and love in the second half. In just the second minute of the second half, Captain Nate Seiberling '11 creamed a shot over the goalie's shoulder into the back of the net to put Colby ahead. Assisting on the play was Aubin, whose through ball found the feet of Seiberling on his penetrating run. Desmond had high praise for his fellow captain. "Nate showed why he's one of the best forwards in the league with a superb finish on a breakaway." Seiberling added that the Bantam keeper had been "driving me crazy until I thumped that goal."
The lone goal was all Colby needed to come out victorious. After scoring, the team "made a commitment to team defense and were impenetrable in the final minutes," Coach Serjenian said. Desmond, who anchors the Mule defense, again took the spotlight off himself and credited his teammates for the shutout. "Cory Hendrickson '12, Nick Nowak '13, and Matt Boyes-Watson '12 led a defense that allowed only one real scoring chance all game." Moving up from the defense, Seiberling had positive words for his midfielders and forwards. "Compared to last year, we retained more possession of the ball thanks to our starting center midfielders (Matt) Vivero '11 and (Andrew) Meisel '13, who controlled the flow of play and launched our attack. The flank midfielders, Petey Randall '12, Peter Williams '11, and Jeremy Lachtrupp '12, remained diligent in their roles defensively while jump-starting many offensive attacks. Forward Nick Aubin proved dynamic by creating several scoring opportunities along with his ever-dangerous long throw-in."
He continued by stating that it was "a good first game and the team realizes there's still a winding road ahead of us." Luckily, the team is guided by "wonderful captains in Desmond and Seiberling," said the head coach in a post game interview. After the game, Desmond was quick to congratulate the whole team on its victory. "This win was a total team effort. Our entire coaching staff and all 27 guys on our roster played a part in the victory."
The season looks bright for the men's soccer team. After graduating a senior class, the incoming first-years, as well as some key returners, have some gaping holes to fill. Most notable among those holes is the goalkeeper position, since both goalies that played last year were lost to graduation. Ben Joslin '12 and Gardiner look to share time in net. Coach Serjenian seems happy with the incoming class, which has a strong presence on the team (nine of the 27 spots filled by first-years). During the Trinity game, the two first years that traveled, Chris Pratt '14 and Nate Tomlin '14, saw significant minutes at midfield.
The team looks to be on track so far, and coach Serjenian believes the team "has shown a dedication to excellence and getting better each day in the early season." Desmond added, "We know we have the talent, work ethic, and focus to do some big things this year and are looking forward to a special season." Seiberling continued the stream of positive outpourings but kept in mind that the team had only played one game so far. "The win on the road against Trinity was the first step in validating our preparation during the off-season and proving to ourselves and the league that we have changed the culture of Colby Men's Soccer. We accomplished our first goal of the season (beating Trinity), yet we are by no means satisfied. No matter the opponent, our next game is our only focus moving forward. Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) will be in for it this Wednesday."
The midweek game against MMA is the first of two home games for the Mules this week. On Saturday, the Mules will host Wesleyan at 1:30 p.m. It will be the place to be on Saturday. Prepare and be there.