Men’s Soccer Ties Williams, Sets Program Record for Draws

Brendan Barry netted the Panther goal on Tuesday in the 64th minute.
Brendan Barry netted the Panther goal on Tuesday in the 64th minute.

Middlebury battled with NESCAC foe Williams for 110 minutes Tuesday, earning a 1-1 draw with the Ephs in the regular-season finale for both teams. The win secured the sixth seed in the NESCAC Tournament for Middlebury (7-2-6, 3-2-5) and a road game in the quarterfinals on Saturday against third-seeded Connecticut College at 12:30 p.m. Williams (7-3-5, 5-2-3) have clinched the No. 4 seed in the tournament and will played fifth-seeded Bates. With the draw, the Panthers set a program record for ties in a season, surpassing the 2014 team with five.

In a first half where shots were hard to come by, Williams had its best scoring chance in the 29th minute. Demian Gass ripped a rising attempt from 35 yards that was tipped over the crossbar by Panther goalie Ryan Grady. Middlebury had its best opportunity eight minutes later when a header from Michael McFarlane sailed just high from eight yards away.

The visitors grabbed the early lead less than 10 minutes into the second half. After a Panther foul 40 yards from the goal, Andrew Mathew took the free kick and lifted a shot that rode the wind and tucked in under the crossbar at 54:45. The tally was his second of the year. The Panthers leveled the score at 1-1 in the 64th minute on a goal from Brendan Barry. McFarlane drove down the left side, sending a cross into the penalty area that Barry headed inside the left post past Eph goalie Michael Davis for his second goal of the season at 63:54.

The Ephs nearly took the lead in the 69th minute when Eli Petrik redirected a cross from five yards away that Grady deflected and hit the crossbar, before the Panther keeper could collect it. The Panthers looked to take the lead with 11:37 left in regulation, but a shot from Ben Potter from 15 yards out was denied by Williams defender Jamie Holland on the left post.

In the first overtime, a header attempt by Will Felitto for the visitors four minutes in on a corner kick went just high. The second extra stanza saw both teams have one chance, as a shot by Middlebury's Jacob LaBranche from 18 yards was saved by Davis four minutes in. Nearly three minutes later, a rising attempt from the Ephs' Justin Adams inside the box was corralled by Grady to give each team a point in the conference standings.

Grady made nine saves in net for the hosts, while Davis had a pair of stops for Williams. The Ephs held a 14-7 margin in shots, while the Panthers had a narrow 6-4 edge in corner kicks.