Men's soccer falls 4-1 to Wesleyan
"It was a tale of two halves," men's soccer captain Doug Sibor '10 said when describing the Mules' 4-1 loss against the Wesleyan University Cardinals on Saturday, Sept. 19. Although Colby positioned itself for a hard-fought match during the first 90 minutes of play in Middletown Conn., the Mules second half play demonstrated little of how well the squad performed in the first half. Saturday's loss marked the second New England Small College Athletic Conference defeat of the season, and brought Colby's overall record down to 0-2-1.
Before taking on conference opponent Wesleyan, the Mules traveled to Castine, Maine on Tuesday, Sept. 16 to face off against Maine Maritime Academy, in what proved to be a an epic contest of missed opportunities. Colby took 56 shots on goal, but was not able to net a single one of them, ending the game in 0-0 non-conference tie. Throughout the two halves and then the overtime period, the Mules cumulated a 56-6 shot advantage over Maine Maritime, and an 11-4 edge in corner kicks. Josh Lyvers '12 took 11 shots, Scott Brown '10 attempted eight, and Peter Randall '11 finished with seven, but the Mules' efforts were thwarted by both Mariner goaltender Jeff Butland and a plague of bad-luck. Colby goalkeepers Dan Marden '10 and Sibor split time in goal, but neither had to make a single save.
In Saturday's contest against the Cardinals, Nate Seiberling '11 seemed to finally break the bad-luck streak by scoring for the Mules in the 18th minute of play to tie off the contest at 1-1. He scored off a quick-transition play from goaltender Marden and Seiberling dribbled down the left side of the field, cut back at the corner of the 18-yard box and bent the ball toward the net to ricochet off the far post and into the goal.
"After getting all the bad bounces at Maine Maritime where we hit the post and the cross bar multiple times, it was nice to finally have the bar finally bounce the right way off the post against the Cardinals," Sibor said.
Overall, the Mules came out very strong in the first half against the Cardinals. They moved the ball well through the midfield and maintained procession by winning 50/50 balls in the air and on ground. Colby did fall behind in the sixth minute when Nick Whipple of Wesleyan sent a ball across the box in the air and it bounced in between Colby's defender and Marden. Keisuke Yamashita beat his way to the ball and flicked it past Marden into the net. After the Seiberling scored at the 18-minute mark to tie up the first half, the Cardinals fell back and Colby dominated the remaining minutes of the first half.
But the second half was a different story. Colby came out flat-footed while Wesleyan took to the field eager to assert its authority on its home turf. The Mules were able to withstand the Cardinals' early flurry of attacks but eventually crumbled under the offensive pressure.
In the 59th minute of the match up Wesleyan took the lead by scoring off a long ball that was sent into the 18-yard box by Cardinal Asante Brooks. Center-back Jory Kahan shook free of his Mule defender and scored on a diving header to pull ahead in the contest. Wesleyan then scored again a little under three minutes later off of a corner kick. Whipple received the ball on the opposite side of the six-yard box and headed the ball into the back of the net. Wesleyan's fourth goal came at the 71st minute from Mark Murphy.
According to team captains, the breakdowns on the field for the Mules were more mental than physical. "We've been fitter than every team that we've played. Unlike other years, our problem has not been fitness related this year, it's been more focus related," Sibor said. He remains confident that the mental errors can be corrected before a busy week of play for the Mules.
After press time, the Mules faced non-conference opponent Husson College on Tuesday, Sept. 22 before gearing up for an intense Homecoming Weekend schedule. The Mules are slated to play a double-header against Williams College on Saturday, Sept. 26 and Bowdoin College on Sunday, Sept. 27. Last season the Mules earned four points (a win and a tie) against Williams and Bowdoin. "There is no reason we can't do that again," Sibor said.
We need to bring the intensity that we brought to the first half [of the Wesleyan game] to the entire 90 minutes of our three-game week," captain James Westhafer '10 said when describing the prospects for the upcoming week.
Loyal men's soccer fan Julian Patterson '10 is also very optimistic of the Mules' potential against the Ephs and Polar Bear: "The boys have a long week ahead of them, but I really think that they're up for the challenge."