Men's Soccer: Advance to Playoffs
The men's soccer team earned a spot in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) playoffs on Friday, October 30th with a decisive win against the Bates College Bobcats. Coming off of a solid win against Waterville rival Thomas College, the Mules stepped up and earned their second league win in the best way possible in a victory against the Bates. The win against the Bobcats secured Colby's spot in the postseason for the first time since the creation of the tournament in 2000.
Forced into a do-or-die situation, the Mules needed either a win or a tie against Bates to clinch a spot in postseason play. Per usual, the men's defense put forth a superb effort that ultimately kept the Mules in the match. Senior Dan Marden had four saves in the game, but his value certainly extended far beyond that number, as many of his plays stopped particularly dangerous offensive drives made by the Bobcats. Additionally, although the game was played at a frantic, back-and-forth pace, the Mules' back line held strong throughout the game. While several stretches of the match were dominated by less than precise passing, Colby's defense quickly and solidly cleared out several Bobcat balls, certainly proving it a better priority than meticulous deliveries.
Although Bates matched Colby's strong defense in the first 45 minutes, the Mule offense proved too much for the Bobcats after the intermission. Barely three and a half minutes into the second half, first-year Andrew Meisel struck a low cross-ball through Bates' box and past several Bobcat defenders. With perfect timing, Nate Seiberling '11 stuck the ball on his first touch, sending it into the net for the winning goal of the game. Remaining poised throughout the rest of the match, the Colby men cheerfully celebrated their shutout victory.
Unable to rejoice for long, though, the Mules soon began planning for their first-round game against the nationally ranked Wesleyan University Cardinals. As the eighth seed in the tournament, Colby was aligned with the first place Cardinals who had earned the best record in the NESCAC. Making the drive down to Connecticut, the Mules prepared for their long-awaited debut in the league playoffs.
Holding its ground for the first stretch of the game, on Sunday, November 1, Colby kept the Cardinals within reach as the match remained scoreless for the first 25 minutes. This positive play unfortunately came to an end, however, when Wesleyan broke through Colby's defense to score three goals within a ten-minute period. Cardinal players Geoff Zartarian, Walter Rodriguez and Noah Schlesinger tallied a goal each during this time. Later in the second half, Wesleyan added two more goals as Walter Rodriguez scored his second off of a penalty kick and Will Mithoefer found the net to leave the final score at 5-0.
Although the Mules lost the playoff game, several Colby players in particular exhibited strong efforts. Combining for seven saves in goal, seniors Dan Marden and Doug Sibor worked incredibly in their last game as Mules. Additionally, Josh Lyvers '12 and Dan Sidman '11 kept the men pushing forward as Colby refused to surrender.
Ending the season with a record of 5-8-2 in the NESCAC league, the Mules have an optimistic attitude about the season. They made the playoffs for the first time ever, and the Colby men look to next year with the goal of a better record and a repeat postseason appearance. Wrapping up the year, Sibor concludes, "Even though our season is over, we have a lot to be proud of. The future of Colby soccer is very bright."