WATERVILLE, ME – The Williams College men's soccer team (10-0-2/7-0-2 NESCAC) scored once in the first half and three times in the second in downing Colby (3-8-2/0-7-2 NESCAC) 4-0. The win extended the Eph unbeaten streak this season to 12.
Colby playing their final home game of the season on Senior Day opened with high energy on a wet, soft turf that only got progressively sloppier as the game advanced.
Colby's Andrew Mizell nearly got the Mules on the board just five minutes in when his direct kick from 35 yards out to the left of Than Finan skipped through the box untouched and narrowly missed finding the lower left corner.
At the 12-minute mark the Ephs constructed their first offensive challenge when Peter Christman played a ball back from the end line to Matt Muralles. Muralles' shot was just off the mark and the game remained scoreless.
Three minutes later off a deep Colby turnover Patrick Ebobisse ripped a shot from 15 yards out that Mules' keeper Cody Funkhouser was able to save.
It was Ebobisse who would get the Ephs on the scoreboard at 29:20 when he dropped a ball back that he had received from Mohammad Rashid to an onrushing Zach Grady. Grady drilled a shot past the diving Funkhouser into the lower left side of the goal, putting Williams on top 1-0.
Colby mounted another offensive charge with seven minutes remaining in the half when they manufactured two consecutive corner kicks, but neither really tested Eph keeper Than Finan.
Williams took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
The second half opened with the Ephs putting the Colby defense under heavy pressure, but Colby was able to withstand the early Eph forays.
Colby responded with some dangerous offensive advances on the Eph goal. The Mules' Andrew Mizell was in on Than Finan, but his chip over Finan was just off the mark.
After Eph User Kushaina's roller from inside the box on the right side went wide Colby's Nick Aubin put a charge into a shot in the box from 14 yards out that Than Finan caught.
With Colby looking to establish some offensive momentum Eph midfielder Peter Christman took the wind out of the Mules' sails.
Matt Muralles found Christman in the box and Christman's shot from 16 yards out squirted through the legs of Funkhouser off the slippery turf and the Ephs had doubled their lead to 2-0 at 55:15.
At 58:40 Zach Grady notched an assist when his pass into the box from the left side to Jon Westling enabled Westling to beat Funkhouser from 8 yards out, making the score 3-0. The goal by Westling was his first collegiate goal
Continued heavy offensive pressure from the Ephs almost led to a Colby goal in the 67th minute when a long through ball found a streaking Andrew Mizell behind the Eph defense. Coming in from Finan's left side Mizell was unable to muster much of a shot as Finan rushed out to smother his breakaway attempt.
The Ephs closed out the scoring on the day when Chris Seitz connected on flank service with freshman forward Troy Ritter. Ritter's tally was also his first collegiate goal. The Ritter goal vame at 85:05.
Ritter's goal upped the number of Ephs scoring this season to 13.
The shutout was the eighth of the year for the Ephs and the fourth recorded by Than Finan. Finan made 5 saves in posting a clean sheet, while Colby's Cody Funkhouser allowed four goals and registered two saves.
"This was a very good result considering the conditions," said Eph head coach Mike Russo. "Colby was the best possession team we've faced and we were fortunate they did not convert on their chances. I was extremely pleased that even with the tough field conditions both teams tried to play soccer."
"We have a long bus ride home and a short turn around before we play a good RPI team tomorrow that has a tie with a strong St. Lawrence team," concluded Russo.
With their 10th win of the year the Ephs under mike Russo have won at least 10 games in a season 28 times in his 34 years.
The Ephs will be right back in action tomorrow afternoon as they host RPI on Cole Field at 1:30 PM.