Men's soccer plays to 0-0 tie against Connecticut
Colby men’s soccer sustained moderate success in 2011: the Mules finished with an even .500 record – seven wins, seven losses and a draw. The seven wins brought 37th-year coach Steve Serdjenian’s ’73 win total to 253. The Mules’ record propelled them to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) playoffs for the third year in a row, in addition to netting them the vaunted Colby-Bates-Bowdoin crown. A 2-0 win over Bowdoin and a 3-2 victory over Bates secured Colby the regional rivalry.
The Mules look to sustain the success and improve on weaknesses in 2012. Sophomore goalkeeper Cody Funkhouser says that the team will accomplish this with a renewed commitment to team chemistry: “This year’s team is a lot closer and more focused. We also have much more of a winning attitude.” On the field, the team is heavily stocked with senior leadership and experienced talent. Nick Nowak ’12 anchors the defense and will wear a captain’s armband, alongside fellow senior Andrew Meisel. Meisel, a multitalented center midfielder, will orchestrate the Colby attack with the same skill that won him spots on both All-NESCAC and All-New England squads in 2011. Headlining the attack are junior Nate Tolman and senior Nick Aubin, both of whom scored in abundance in previous years on the Colby offensive.
It was the Mules’ defensive stronghold that kept them in the game in the season opener at Connecticut College on Saturday afternoon, eventually recording a 0-0 draw. The Camel offense came out with unrelenting pressure, and totaled 17 shots in the contest. Nowak and returning defender Jonathan Sommer ’14 held firm with the aid of Jon Stronach and Andrew Woonton, two sophomores who played in the midfield last year but excelled in their first start on the back line in this game.
After winning a four-way goalkeeper position battle in the preseason, Funkhouser received his most significant collegiate playing time in the season opener, recording a full 90 minutes of regulation and 30 overtime minutes between the pipes for the first time. He excelled in this first showing, turning away a barrage of Connecticut College shots and recording six saves. Funkhouser was humble after his performance, deflecting credit elsewhere. “All the credit for the shutout goes to the defense. They played hard and it resulted in an incredible effort,” he said after the game. In addition to the 17 shots and six on goal, the Camels tallied eight corner kicks. Perhaps the biggest moment of danger for Colby came in the final moments, as both teams produced significant chances. Connecticut College forward Kevin O’Brien ’12 rocketed a midrange shot that Funkhouser deftly deflected, preserving the tie in the game’s most critical minutes. Funkhouser attested to the save’s importance to Colby’s psyche, saying, “It would have been very frustrating to lose if the ball had gone in as the game was ending.”
The Colby offense recorded four shots on the day in addition to six corner kicks.
The Mules return to action this week at Husson University on Wednesday and at home against Middlebury College on Saturday.
Last year, Colby travelled to Vermont and topped a powerful Middlebury squad by a slim, one-goal margin in overtime in an early-season tilt. The Husson game, played at home, was not as close a contest, as Woonton and Meisel both put the ball in the back of the net in the September matchup.