Middlebury and Williams Tie 1-1; Panthers Advance in Shootout
Courtesy Amherst Sports Information
AMHERST, Mass. - Middlebury moved on to the final game of the 2007 NESCAC Men's Soccer Championship by overcoming Williams by a 3-0 penalty kick margin after the two squads played to a 1-1 tie through regulation and two scoreless overtime periods. The Panthers will face top-seed and host Amherst on Sunday at Gooding Field at 12:00 p.m.
The first half was an impressive defensive battle, which saw Middlebury hold a 7-0 edge in shots, but both teams came up scoreless at the break.
Despite being out-shot by a lopsided margin in the first frame, Williams jumped out of the gate firing on all cylinders in the second stanza. Williams put heavy pressure on the Panther defense, and broke through in the 55th minute on a cross from the right wing. With a pair of Eph strikers breathing down his neck, Middlebury's Colin Nangle (Westport, Conn.) couldn't avoid clearing the ball into his own net.
Middlebury refused to go away and found the equalizer in the 67th minute when substitute Andrew Banadda (Gaithersburg, Md.) slotted a through pass with the outside of his foot into space for sophomore forward Stephan Hart (Park City, Utah) to run on. In a foot race against Eph keeper, Andrew Graham, Hart arrived first, and calmly flicked the ball on frame. A pair of Williams defenders couldn't catch up with the slow roller before it crossed the line and knotted the game up at 1-1.
From that point on, the defenses took over and the game was destined for extra time. Despite playing two overtimes, neither side found the net again until penalty kicks.
Middlebury junior forward Casey Ftorek (Bedford, Mass.) set the tone for the shootout with the first shot converted to the upper-left corner. Williams senior defender Nathan Elwood (Andover, N.J.) rang the Ephs' first shot off the crossbar.
Middlebury followed suit with a pair of scores in the second and third rounds of penalties, while their junior goalkeeper, Brian Bush (Madison, Wis.) stopped consecutive shots from Williams to seal the win.