Men's soccer brings NESCAC record to 1-4
This week brought more inconsistency and frustration for the Colby men’s soccer team. The slate of games began very successfully, as the Mules throttled the University of Southern Maine (USM) 4-0, but took a turn for the worst as the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) schedule queued up difficulties for the Colby offense. In a game at Trinity College on Saturday, Colby was unable to crack a tough Bantam defense en route to a 2-0 loss. Wesleyan brought further challenges for the Mules, who finished on the wrong side of yet another 2-0 decision.
Colby put strong pressure on the USM defense but had difficulty capitalizing on scoring opportunities in the first half. The Mules had 18 shots in the first 45 minutes, but only one goal to show for it. Senior midfielder Eric Barthold netted Colby’s first goal on a first-touch shot at the end of a centering pass from Andrew Woonton ’15. In the second half, Colby was able to finish on their opportunities to score, and the floodgates opened. Three different players scored their first collegiate goals in the second half. Sophomore Chris Pratt scored in the 58th minute, while first-years Charlie Dupee and Jake Lukach scored in the 73rd and 83rd minutes, respectively. Speaking of Colby’s second-half scoring spree, Barthold said, “The key to the success we had in the second half was belief....We knew we were playing well, and knew that if we just kept doing what we were doing, the goals would come. It wasn’t necessarily that the quality of our chances drastically improved, but our confidence in front of goal improved.” Senior Ben Joslin and first-year Cody Funkhouser combined for the clean sheet in goal, recording three saves between them. The win was coach Mark Serdjenian’s 250th at the helm for Colby.
Saturday’s defensive struggle with Trinity ended in another NESCAC loss for Colby, their fourth in five games. The Bantams’ senior forward Andrew Mayernick scored in the 25th minute, and junior midfielder Anthony El-Hachem added an insurance goal in the 77th.
The game was dominated by both defenses and saw only 16 shots recorded by both teams all game. The difference in score came by way of Trinity’s ability to take advantage of scoring opportunities. First-year goalkeeper Peter Quayle recorded three stops for Colby, while Trinity senior keeper Grant Schonberg recorded two.
The Wesleyan game saw the same result as the Trinity matchup, but the opponents took a much different route to achieve it. Colby more than doubled its offensive effort, recording 16 shots, but yet again came away with nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. The Cardinals took 17 shots, converting on the feet of first-year Greg Shaheen and junior Walter Rodriguez. Junior Adam Purdy, recent NESCAC Player of the Week, recorded the shutout for Wesleyan with eight saves, while Quayle saved five for the Mules.
When asked about Colby’s goalkeeping carousel, Serdjenian said “We have multiple strong goalkeepers, and we’re trying to get them all experience.” He also spoke to recent offensive frustration: “Every NESCAC game [is] a battle.…we possessed the ball well but didn’t translate that into goals.”
At 1-4 in NESCAC play, Colby falls to ninth in the conference, ahead of Bowdoin and Bates. The Mules have five more conference games remaining this season in addition to an upcoming matchup with Thomas College.