Williams men's soccer defeats Bates 3-0 in season opener
LEWISTON, ME - Williams men’s soccer started the season off with a bang today, defeating Bates 3-0 on the road behind two goals from sophomore User Kushaina. It was the team’s second consecutive season-opening win.
“When we come to Maine, it is a very tough place to play,” said Eph head coach Mike Russo. “It was a good win – they’re a good team, with a few very dangerous players, and I was overall pleased.”
The first 25 minutes of the game saw significant back-and-forth play, with the Ephs controlling more of the possession. The Ephs were able to break through in the 27th minute. Kushaina carried the ball from midfield down the left flank and into the left side of the penalty box. He then hit a a low driven ball that deflected past Bates keeper Greg Watts to into the back of the net, giving Williams a 1-0 lead.
Building on the momentum from Kushaina’s goal, the Ephs dominated the next ten minutes, as the team scored two goals.
First, freshman Zach Grady found junior Patrick Ebobisse at the top right the Bates 18-yard box. Ebobisse took advantage of the space he found himself in to curl the ball past the outstretched hands of Watts into the top left corner of the Bates net.
The Ephs were able to score again a few minutes later off of an exceptional build up. Ebobisse found senior captain Nick Pugliese on the left side of the box with of a through ball, and Pugliese hit a driven cross to the back post. The ball flew past Watts, finding Kushaina deep in the right side of the box. Kushaina slotted the ball with ease into the back of the net to give the Ephs a 3-0 lead, which the team held going into the half.
The second half saw much more balanced play between the two teams. Bates was able to force Williams sophomore keeper Peter Morrell into action on several occasions, but he was up to the task. The Ephs spent much of the half playing the ball long, a strategy that guaranteed the team a shutout but that only created a few more opportunities. Ultimately, neither team could find the goal in the final 45-minutes, and Williams walked away with the 3-0 victory.
“We were very good in the first half,” said Russo. “The wind was at our backs in the first half, and that played a little bit of a factor. They came at us in the second half a little bit, when they had the wind. Our back four was very tight with Pete Morrell in goal doing an excellent job, and we had very good wing play; our midfield play in the second half could have been better, though.”
Pugliese echoed his coach. “We played a really solid first half,” he said. “The second half, we didn’t keep the ball on the ground as much, and we need to work on that. The defense was solid, but we need to work on midfield possession.”
Russo had particular praise for Kushaina. “He had two goals today, and he was absolutely on fire.”
Pugliese added, “[Ebobisse] and [Kushaina] looked really dangerous today. All the freshmen got in, which was great. On the whole I am really encouraged – it was a good effort.”
“Overall, given that both teams only had prepared for seven days, I was pleased – it was 90 minutes that were consistently positive, and we looked very good at moments,” said Russo
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