October 10, 2017

Nor'easter News - Week 6

By Henry Loughlin

Recap of the Week

We are more than halfway through conference play in 2017, yet there is still much jostling for position within a variety of leagues. The battle for first-place in the CCC is as tight as ever, as Endicott and Gordon were forced to share the spoils after 110 minutes of scoreless action on Saturday. After suffering its first loss of the season last weekend, NESCAC-leading Tufts made a statement at home against Middlebury in Saturday’s matchup, dominating the visiting Panthers 4-0. The Jumbos aren’t without competition for the conference regular season crown, however; Bowdoin stayed right on the Tufts' heels with a pair of wins over Trinity (CT) and local rival Bates. In other NESCAC action, Connecticut College kept its undefeated start to the season alive with a victory over Bates, and Amherst was forced to settle for a 0-0 draw at Hamilton. In other notable New England action, NEWMAC leader Springfield continued its perfect start to the season, Brandeis gutted out a big UAA win over Carnegie Mellon, and Southern Maine has emerged as a program with potential.

Impressions

Last week's Game of the Week produced a tepid affair, as Gordon and Endicott battled to a 0-0 draw. The first half was much like a chess match, as both teams attempted to get a feel for the other's game. Towards the end of the interval, though, the host Gulls hit the post, suggesting that a goal could come after the break. It never did, though, and – while Endicott again hit the woodwork in the second overtime – the teams were forced to settle for a stalemate. Although the hosts were no doubt gunning for the victory, it was a decent way for coach Joe Calabrese's side to rebound after falling at home to Babson, 1-0, on Wednesday, Endicott will face a difficult test on Friday, when Connecticut College travels to town for an under-the-lights matchup that is sure to entertain.

Though Tufts' home match against Middlebury was expected to be a close game between two NESCAC contenders, it turned out to be anything but. The Jumbos scored early and often, building a 3-0 lead at the half before getting a fourth just after the break en route to a commanding 4-0 victory. While the Jumbos had struggled to score in early NESCAC encounters (only really coming alive offensively after a 3-0 win on the road at Wesleyan) a second multi-goal thumping against a difficult Panthers side will no doubt be a confidence-booster for Tufts, who appears to be hitting its stride offensively as we roll into the middle of October. With upcoming tests against Williams and Bowdoin, the offense has started to click at the right time.

Sunday afternoon, Bowdoin and Bates met for a grudge match under the lights. The visiting Polar Bears jumped on the board early, as Matty McColl curled a nice effort inside the left post just six minutes into the match. Bates didn't quit, however, and battled back to level things up with a deserved equalizer shortly after halftime on an own goal. Although the host Bobcats did have a few chances down the stretch, it was Bowdoin that grabbed the winner in the 67th minute, as Jake Stenquist notched his first goal of the season from the penalty spot. Bates didn't go quietly, threatening several times down the stretch, but Bowdoin was ultimately able to hang on for the victory.

Springfield kept its perfect start to the season alive with a 2-0 road victory at MIT. The teams went into the half scoreless, before Springfield broke the ice shortly after the break through Christian Schneider. The Engineers did stay in the game after going down, but Dexter Tenn wrapped things up for the Pride with a goal in the 85th minute. It doesn't get any easier for Springfield in the coming weeks; the Pride will host Mass-Boston before closing out the regular season with road trips to CCC contender Western New England and NEWMAC foes WPI and Wheaton (Mass.), but the Pride are the clear favorite for the NEWMAC tournament and have the firepower to make a run in the postseason.

In conference games where offensive opportunities are scant, an in-form goaltender can make all the difference. Ben Woodhouse of Brandeis demonstrated this in a big way on Saturday morning against UAA rival Carnegie Mellon. Having sat on the bench the last 1.5 games, Woodhouse picked up a career-high 11 saves in his return between the pipes to help the Judges (who were outshot 22-8) to a 2-0 victory over the visiting Tartans. At the other end, Brandeis got a pair of first-half goals off corner kicks from Alex Walter and Josh Ocel, the latter of whom bent the ball into the net directly from the corner flag. The Judges can't rest on their laurels as they travel to conference foes Rochester (NY) and Emory this weekend, but this was a marquee win for Brandeis against a very good opponent.

While not leading the race for the LEC or generating much press, Southern Maine has made notable strides as a program this year. Even despite a pair of setbacks this weekend to Mass-Boston and Pine Manor, the Huskies – who won a total of five games between 2013 and 2016 – are currently 5-7-1 after a seismic road victory at 2015 GNAC Champion Thomas on Wednesday night. First-year goalkeeper Richard Glemawu is 43rd in the nation in terms of goals against average (.838), racking up 93 saves in the process; by far the most saves for any goalkeeper in the top 50 of the national GAA standings has made. The Huskies have a number of winnable games left on the calendar and, should they pull a surprise or two, have the potential to finish the 2017 campaign with a winning record. With importance of a good goalkeeper illustrated in the previous paragraph and Glemawu having three years of eligibility left, the Huskies could well continue their rise up the LEC ladder in seasons to come.

Upcoming Game of the Week: Amherst vs. Connecticut College

Having lost D3soccer.com First Team All-American Pat Devlin to graduation, it would have been reasonable to think that Connecticut College would regress this season -- particularly considering that Devlin scored 13 goals in his final season, a massive amount to replace. That has not been the case, however, as the Camels sit at 8-0-3 in the beginning of October, including a perfect 6-0 at home and a 0-0 tie at defending national champion Tufts. Amherst, meanwhile, has rebounded well after a 1-1-1 start, including home wins over Tufts and Rutgers-Newark, but saw its winning streak snapped this weekend with a 0-0 draw at Hamilton on Saturday. Being at home, Amherst will have a great chance to pick up another statement-making three points, but it would be foolish to suggest that the Camels aren't capable of pulling out a win on Hitchcock Field. History suggests that this will be an exciting, entertaining game, and – based on what we've seen this season – it's reasonable to assume that the trend will continue.

 


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Nor'easter News

 

Nor'easter News provides coverage of Division III men's soccer throughout the New England region, home to the NESCAC, one of the nation's strongest and deepest conferences, as well as the NEWMAC, CCC, LEC and others. Each week the more significant results of the previous week are discussed, along with impressions and analysis, followed by the selection of a game to keep an eye on in the week ahead.

Columnist

Henry Loughlin

Henry Loughlin is a Brandeis University graduate (2014, Politics & American Studies) and has enjoyed watching Division III soccer for the past six years as a student and alumnus. Though a writer by trade, his interest in numbers and statistical analysis makes soccer writing and commentary a favorite pastime. [see full bio]

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