Men's soccer downs Middlebury
Andrew Meisel ’13 crosses a ball past a Connecticut College defender last weekend. Colby defeated Husson and Middlebury this week.
After stumbling out of the gates against an upstart Connecticut College squad last Saturday, the Colby men’s soccer team aimed to use this week’s games to get the season started on a positive note. They did that, and then some.
The Mules’ success began Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m on their home turf as they took on out-of-conference opponent Husson University. The Eagles opened up the scoring in the 29th minute as senior forward Greg Dawson, a native of St. Andrew, Scotland, connected on a low cross from the wing sent by first-year forward Phillip Frost. Colby responded by capitalizing on a penalty kick taken by junior midfielder Andrew Meisel. The Mules and Eagles entered halftime tied at one goal apiece.
Colby came out firing in the second half, scoring just three minutes and 52 seconds into the second period. The goal came on an impressive passing display from forward Nick Aubin ’13, who crossed the ball in from the wing to the head of senior midfielder Jeremy Lachtrupp, who distributed the header to Eric Barthold, another senior midfielder, who put it in the back of the net in what would be the winning goal. Two first-years, midfielders Jon Stronach and Andrew Woonton, combined on a give-and-go as Woonton sealed the game with a goal with 19 minutes to play. Colby goalkeeper Ben Joslin ’12 made three saves in 83 minutes, and first-year player Peter Quayle got his first collegiate minutes and made one save to round out the game.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) foe Middlebury posed the next challenge for the Mules as Colby tried to win their first game on Panther turf since 2003. The game was a dead heat—no goals were scored in the 90 minutes of regular time. Aubin credits the Mules’ central defense for their stifling coverage: “Our center-backs Nick Nowak [’13] and Jonathan Sommer [’14] have really started to gel and were huge throughout the whole game. Our coaches preach sound team defense, and it starts with them.”
Both offenses had their scoring chances in the first 90 minutes, with several Middlebury shots soaring just wide or hitting goalposts. The game entered overtime after neither team was able to capitalize on scoring opportunities.
Colby was confident—“Going into overtime we said we weren't going to change anything. As a team we've been in that situation before and knew we just needed to stay confident and take any chance we could get,” Aubin said. And their faith was rewarded, as Aubin, last year’s leading scorer as just a sophomore, put a pass from sophomore forward Nate Tolman in the top right corner of the net, inciting a raucous celebration from the Mules. After the game, Aubin said, “It's always a great feeling to score a big goal, but it was especially huge for us as an entire team. Getting your first conference win in the NESCAC is extremely difficult, and, going up against a team as strong as Middlebury, you never know what's going to happen.”
Joslin kept the Mules in the game with five saves on 15 Middlebury shots, compared to Panthers’ keeper Tim Cahill’s one save on just four Colby attempts on goal. Middlebury followed up Saturday’s loss to Colby with a 3-0 loss to Amherst on Sunday. The Mules’ next game is at 3 p.m. at home versus Tufts University on Saturday, Sept. 24.