M. Soccer falls to Middlebury
This Saturday, the Colby men’s soccer team battled the Middlebury Panthers in overtime for the fourth consecutive year. However, after a total of 17 shots at goal by the two teams, the Panthers emerged victorious. Despite the continued strong play of Colby’s back line that held their opposition scoreless in regulation, the visitors finally capitalized on a rebound in extra time. Outshooting Colby 11-6, the Panthers were continually stymied in the face of another strong performance by goalkeeper Cody Funkhouser ’15. It was only when a shot flew off Colby’s crossbar to a waiting attacker that Middlbury was finally able to put one past the sophomore.
The game was a heartbreaker for the Mules, who won last year’s overtime contest with Middlebury by a score of 1-0. The Panthers sought revenge for their previous defeat. The visiting men from Vermont unleashed a powerful attack that has led to a strong start this season, including only one loss so far, to an undefeated Tufts squad.
Defensive play has been strong for the Mules this year; only once this year have they surrendered more than one goal in a game. Their fullbacks have been aided greatly by Funkhouser’s rising star between the pipes. If the old adage that defense wins championships is true, it bodes well for the Mules. With an 0-2-1 record, however, there must be some improvement before successful results will come. If the men wish to continue their streak of three consecutive playoff appearances, in addition to maintaining their grasp on the coveted Colby-Bowdoin-Bates title, they must upgrade play on the other end of the field. In their three games this far, the Mules have yet to score a goal.
Against Middlebury, captain Andrew Meisel ’13 once again spearheaded the attack from midfield, with three shots. The team’s total of six shots could not find the net though, as Colby went goalless again this season.
Their schedule isn’t getting any easier. Next Saturday, the men will travel down to Medford, Mass. to face the difficult Jumbos on their home field at Tufts. Colby’s struggling forwards will have to work hard to finish against a defensive squad that has allowed only one tally against them this year, in a match against third-place Wesleyan.
The good news for the Mules is that the season, like their team, is young. Colby has until October to prepare for their ever-important rivalry games with Bates and Bowdoin. Current conference leaders Williams, Wesleyan and Trinity do not show up until later in the schedule. Meisel and the upperclassmen of the Mules have no shortage of time and no dearth of young talent to work with before the season is out.
With a young crop of strikers that is beginning to get shots off with more frequency, Tufts and the upcoming schedule may soon have something to fear from Colby. 37th year coach Mark Serdjenian ‘73 has over 250 Colby wins to his record, along with a history of playoff success. Recent history is on the side of the Mules, but the youthful team supporting Funkhouser and Meisel has their work cut out for them.