Men’s soccer losses in NESCAC semifinal
AMHERST, Mass. — The Middlebury College men’s soccer team, seeded No. 6 in the NESCAC soccer tournament, on Saturday lost to No. 4 seed Hamilton, 2-1, in a semifinal played at Amherst College.
The Panthers concluded their season at 10-4-3, 6-4-3 vs. NESCAC foes, and as was the case in 2015 was snubbed by the NCAA Division III tournament committee in favor of Tufts. NESCAC tournament winner and defending NCAA champion Amherst was an automatic selection, but Tufts (9-5-2, 6-2-2 NESCAC) became the only other league team chosen.
Tufts was upset in a NESCAC quarterfinal, but finishing second in the regular season. The Jumbos lost two non-league games, while the Panthers were 5-0 in non-league games. None of the non-league foes either team played earned NCAA berths.
Middlebury probably could have taken care of business itself by defeating Hamilton, which finished 10-7-1 after losing to No. 1 Amherst on Sunday.
The decisive play in Middlebury’s game with Hamilton came in overtime, starting with a corner kick from Hamilton’s Alex Cadet from the right side. An unmarked Eli Morris not far from the penalty stripe one-touched the ball back into the right corner for the game-winner.
The Panthers opened the scoring in 19:34 into the match on a play that started in the team’s defensive third. Drew Goulart carried the ball over midfield and centered a pass to Daniel O’Grady, who shot on goal from outside of the Hamilton penalty area. Continental keeper Linds Cadwell was unable to control the rebound, and Greg Conrad pounced on the free ball.
Hamilton got the equalizer 2:38 later, when Jefri Schmidt headed in a long entry pass by Mike Lubelczyk.
Middlebury had two quality scoring chances in the final 20 minutes of the half. Cadwell punched a shot by Ben Potter wide of the right post on the first bid and made a diving stop on a Goulart shot by Goulart from the left side.
Three minutes into the second stanza Goulart shot from long range, but Cadwell pushed the bid over the cross bar.
In the 53rd minute, the Continentals Lubelczyk shot from the right side by, but Greg Sydor dove to his right to make the save. The Panther keeper made another acrobatic save minutes later, leaping up to direct a header by Schmidt over the crossbar.
Middlebury produced another good chance when Adam Glaser broke into the left side of the box, but his left-footed shot curled toward side Cadwell, who turned it aside.
In overtime, Hamilton came within inches of winning the match in the 92nd minute, but Aidan Ward touched a bouncing ball just wide of the right post.
Sydor made eight saves, while Cadwell recorded 10. Hamilton finished with 17-14 advantage in shots, while the Panthers had a 7-4 edge in corner kicks.