Williams defeats Bates 2-0 in NESCAC opener

by Elliot Chester
September 8, 2012


Goals from Matt Kastner and Michael Madding propelled Williams past Bates in the NESCAC opener for both teams on Saturday at Cole Field in Williamstown.

The win was the second in a row for the Ephs, who opened their season with a comeback victory over Westfield State on Wednesday. The contest was a season-opener for Bates.

Neither team dominated play in the first half, although both squads failed to cash in on valuable scoring opportunities. In the 14th minute, Bobcats midfielder Wes Shrewsbury made a strong push down the left flank and sent a cross through to forward Lee Sandquist, whose point-blank shot was turned away by Williams keeper Than Finan for a corner. Meanwhile, Williams had numerous chances, the best of which came when Dan Lima’s cross was headed on goal by senior captain Matt Ratajczak, forcing Bates keeper Joe Maffly-Kipp to make a tough save.

The Ephs finally broke through the 42nd minute, just moments after an intermittent but often insistent rainstorm that made for a slippery first half finally relented. It all started when Ratajczak sent a long ball to midfielder Timothy Marchese, who was streaking down the right sideline. Marchese cut the ball back to oncoming defender Chris Seitz, whose cross momentarily pinballed inside the box before finally being tucked home by a sliding Kastner, who picked up his first of the season.

The goal seemed to galvanize the Ephs, who maintained consistently maintained possession for much of the early going in the second half, a run that culminated in the game’s second goal in the 61st minute. After an innocent-looking Bates turnover in Williams territory, Patrick Ebobisse sent a crisp pass to freshman striker Mohammed Rashid, who took on defender Dan Remillard one-on-one before sending a return pass to Ebobisse, who in turn found the right foot of Madding. Madding calmly slotted the ball into side netting of the far post, and Williams led 2-0, a margin it would maintain all the way to the game’s end.

After the game, Williams coach Mike Russo--who picked up career win number 401--gave significant credit to his back line, which consists of several converted forwards, for helping to create offense while remaining rock-solid as a unit.

“We always talk about creating goal-scoring opportunities,” Russo said moments after the final whistle.

In particular, Russo commended sophomores Chris Conder and Seitz for adjusting to their new roles and Ratajczak for anchoring the defense.

Williams had several chances to add to its lead, including a breakaway for midfielder Jonathan Westling, but was repeatedly turned away by Maffly-Kipp, who was credited with nine saves in his collegiate debut, a performance that impressed Russo.

“We didn’t finish quite as much as we should have,” said Russo. “He made some great saves.”

The Ephs will continue their 2012 campaign on Tuesday at Hamilton, while Bates returns home to face St. Joseph’s. Kickoffs are 4:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

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