The Middlebury men’s soccer team tallied a 2-0 mark during a pair of matches last week, scoring the decisive goal early in each match. Senior Tyler Bonini (Avon, Conn.) scored 3:58 into Wednesday’s 1-0 road win over Norwich, and the Panthers followed up that performance with a header goal 2:13 into the match from junior Tom Bean (Waukee, Iowa) for a 1-0 home victory Saturday of NESCAC foe Connecticut College.
On Wednesday evening, Bonini scored the game's only goal with a shot through traffic after junior Adam Glaser (Washington, D.C.) flicked the ball forward at the top of the 18-yard box. Bonini beat Norwich goalkeeper Stefan Skoff with a hard, low shot after the Cadet keeper had come off his line to challenge.
Bonini's goal proved to be the difference as neither side was able to strike again. Middlebury nearly pushed the lead to 2-0 with 29:50 left in the first half, but Skoff made a fantastic sprawling save to deny a slicing shot from the left by Glaser. Bonini came in on the rebound and lifted it just over the cross bar to keep it 1-0.
As the game wore on, Norwich started to possess the ball more and create chances in the second half. Colin Lozito drilled a shot wide from the top of the 18 with 29:20 to go in the second half for one of Norwich's best chances of the night.
Middlebury held a 24-8 advantage in shots, but only 8-5 in the second half. Skoff made seven saves for Norwich, while Middlebury junior keeper Greg Sydor (Madison, Conn.) picked up the victory without having to make a save. The clean sheet is the ninth of Sydor's career in just 18 games played between the pipes for the Panthers.
Norwich had eight corner kicks to Middlebury's three, as the Panthers improved to 50-3-4 all-time against Norwich.
In Saturday’s victory, junior Tim Ogle (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) lofted a long throw in from the right side of the goal that sailed into the box. The arching ball found Bean's head, as he redirected the eventual game-winning score into the upper-right corner of the goal just past the outstretched arm of Camel goalkeeper Austin DaCuhna.
Almost seven minutes later, Middlebury junior Philip Skayne (Boxborough, Mass.) nearly doubled the Panther lead as he sent a header from 10 yards out that DaCuhna was able to get his right hand on and tip over the crossbar.
Connecticut College's best chance of the opening half came at the 12-minute mark. Following a Panther foul and ensuing free kick from 25 yards out, Colin Patch laced a curling shot that Sydor got his right hand on. The rebound came to the feet of Connecticut College's Pat Devlin eight yards away, but Sydor denied the chance catching the attempt in his chest. Neither team had many scoring opportunities for the remainder of the half.
In the second half, a majority of play happened between the penalty boxes. With a little more than eight minutes remaining in regulation, Devlin nearly tied the match when his shot from the right side at 15 yards was guided up and over the crossbar by Sydor. The Camels continued the pressure to tie the game, but were unable to score the equalizer.
Connecticut College held a narrow edge in both shots (8-6) and corner kicks (5-4). Sydor ended the match with six saves for his second shutout in as many games this season, giving him 10 for his career, while DaCuhna was credited with one save.
• Men’s soccer record: 2-0-0
• Up next: 9/15 at Green Mountain – 4:45 p.m., 9/19 at Amherst – 2:30 p.m.