MEN'S SOCCER: Glimpses glory and looks ahead
On Saturday, September 26, surrounded by the support of loyal friends, family and alumni, the Colby men's soccer team took the field for family homecoming weekend in search of a win against the nationally ranked Williams College Ephs. Although the Mules held the Ephs to two goals in the first half, a devastating blow of an additional four goals after halftime suppressed the hopes of a recovery by the Colby men. While this 6-0 loss pushed the Mules to a record of 0-3 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and a 1-3-1 record overall, the score did not accurately reflect the Mules' efforts.
As in previous games this season, the men displayed their potential early on in the game, holding the 19 ranked Ephs within reach of a comeback for the first half. 14 minutes into the game, Williams' Conor Smith scored off of a set play on a corner kick, giving the Ephs their first goal. Afterward, and just before halftime, Williams' forward Peter Houston pushed through a gap in the Colby defense to score another goal off of this breakaway. Although giving up two goals, the first 45 minutes was punctuated by "flashes of excellence" and "terrific performances" from many of the young players on the Colby squad, Coach Mark Serdjenian said.
Unfortunately, the promise shown in the first half was eclipsed by the setbacks the Mules suffered after halftime. Between the 54 and 58 minutes, Colby let in three goals, allowing Williams to climb to a five-point lead. Frustrated by the turn of events, Colby was unable to recover its stride. With only eight minutes left in the game, the Ephs struck again, knocking in the final goal of the game to cement their win. In total, the Mules tallied 10 shots and two corner kicks while the Ephs mustered 19 shots and four corner kicks. The height of the Williams men proved to be an enormous advantage for the Ephs: of the four corner kicks they attempted, three resulted in goals.
Following Saturday's home game against Williams, the soccer team traveled to Brunswick, Maine on Sunday, September 27 to play the Bowdoin College Polar Bears in the Mules' second showdown of the weekend. Starting out strong once again, Colby led the first half with five shots to the Polar Bears' three. The match remained scoreless until 61 minutes into the game, when Bowdoin player Michael Gale sent a left-footed shot into the net, putting the Polar Bears up by one. Sealing the win for Bowdoin 75 minutes and 85 minutes into the game were players Carl Woock and Eddie Jones, each scoring once to leave the final tally at 0-3.
The glimpses of remarkable play during the men's games strongly indicate the team's potential, but the Mules need to find a way to work more reliably as a team. "The issue for us now becomes finding the same consistency on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field that our opponents have had against us," captain Doug Sibor '10 said.
With the four top-ranked NESCAC teams behind them, the Colby men's soccer team faces the more favorable second stretch of its schedule with an increasingly optimistic attitude. On Wednesday, September 30, the Mules will face off against the University of Southern Maine at home, followed by an away game on Saturday, October 3, against Middlebury College. A sound showing in the matches could drive the Mules back on track, and the Mules know that 90 minutes of consistent play will be the key to winning those contests. "How we do going forward from now is up to us," Sibor said.