WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College men's soccer team will head to the New England Small College Athletic Conference playoffs for the third straight year after holding on for a 3-2 victory over rival Bates College on Wednesday.
The Mules (7-6-1 overall, 3-6-1 NESCAC) will be the eighth seed in the NESCAC Tournament and will visit top-seeded Amherst College for a quarterfinal game Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Bates finishes the season at 4-10 overall and 0-10 in conference play.
Colby has needed to beat Bates in the final regular season game the past three years and each time has accomplished the mission. The Mules also earn Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) bragging rights after taking a 2-0 win over Bowdoin earlier this season.
After a scoreless first half, the Mules appeared to take over the game with two goals in a span of 1:16. Eric Barthold (Lyme, N.H.), one of six Colby seniors playing their final home games, scored on a header off a beautiful cross from the left side by first-year Jon Stronach (Concord, Mass.) at 57:16.
Colby head coach Mark Serdjenian inserted junior Donny MacMaster (Madison, N.J.) in the game after Barthold's goal. MacMaster had missed the entire season before finally returning to the line-up for last Saturday's game at Williams College. The move quickly paid off after MacMaster scored off an assist from Nate Tolman (Scarborough, Maine) just 1:16 later.
Bates refused to give up and scored a pretty goal when Tyler Grees (Williamstown, Mass.) had a fine cross from the right side for a diving header by Ethan Kass (New York, N.Y.) for the Bobcats' first goal at 73:32.
Tolman was taken down in the penalty area at 77:21 and the Mules were rewarded a penalty kick by the referee. Junior midfielder Andrew Meisel (Newtown, Conn.) ripped a shot up the middle after Bates goalkeeper Greg Watts (West Chester, Pa.) leaned to dive to his left.
Bates once again made it a one-goal game when John Murphy (Yarmouth, Maine) hit a shot from about 20 to 25 yards out that eluded Colby keeper Ben Joslin (Chicago, Ill.) and went into the lower right corner of the net at 79:19.
The Bobcats put forth great effort to secure the equalizer, but the Mules were able to hold on. Bates hit the crossbar on a shot with about six minutes to play.
Joslin finished with four saves for the Mules, while Watts stopped six shots for Bates.
Colby 3, Bates 2
Bates............... 0 2 - 2
Colby............... 0 3 - 3
1. 57:16 COLMS11 Eric Barthold (Jon Stronach)
2. 58:32 COLMS11 Donny MacMaster (Nate Tolman)
3. 73:32 BAT-M Ethan Kass (Tyler Grees)
4. 77:21 COLMS11 Andrew Meisel Penalty kick
5. 79:19 BAT-M John Murphy (unassisted)
Shots: Bates 17, Colby 18; Saves: Bates 6 (Greg Watts 6), Colby 4 (Ben Joslin 4)
2011 MEN’S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
Saturday, October 29 at Higher Seeds
No. 8 Colby at No. 1 Amherst – 2:30 pm
No. 7 Middlebury at No. 2 Wesleyan – 12:30 pm
No. 6 Connecticut College at No. 3 Trinity – 12:30 pm
No. 5 Tufts at No. 4 Williams – 1:30 pm
Saturday, November 5 at Highest Remaining Seed
Semifinals – games at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Highest remaining seed vs. lowest remaining seedRemaining first round winners
Sunday, November 6
Final - 12:00 noon