Men's Soccer Opens Up NESCAC Play With Thrilling 3-2 Victory at Williams

WILLIAMSTOWN – Junior Travis Van Brewer's late-game strike propeled the Tufts University men's soccer team to a 3-2 victory over Williams College in a NESCAC game at Cole Field on the campus of Williams College Saturday afternoon.

Junior Travis Van Brewer tallied the game-winning goal on Saturday.

With the win, the Jumbos improve to 2-0-0 on the season with a 1-0-0 record in NESCAC play. The Ephs fall to 0-1-1 overall with a 0-1-0 record in conference play.

The Jumbos started with possession, however a turnover and quick drive by Williams gave them the first opportunity of the contest. The turnover allowed Demian Gass a shot on goal that was stopped by junior goalkeeper Will Harned. Tufts responded just a couple of minutes later after they earned a free kick just outside of the 18-yard box. Van Brewer took the free kick, but it was deflected. The Jumbos would continue to attack through the first 10 minutes of play. They earned two corner kicks during the opening minutes, but were unable to capitalize on the opportunities.

Just past the 15th minute, the Ephs earned some time in the attacking zone which gave them two strong opportunities. The first came when the wind knocked down a clear by the Tufts back line, which allowed a service towards goal by Gass. The ball was cleared out to the corner. Gass recovered the loose ball and attempted to put another ball into the box, but strong defense cleared the opportunity away.

Tufts would put on the offensive pressure over the next couple of minutes. In the 28th minute, the Jumbos capitalized on a failed clear by the Ephs. Senior Brett Rojas found the ball on his foot just outside the 18-yard box and he attempted to fire a shot on goal. Rojas was unable to get a good shot away and junior Max Jacobs, who was waiting just a few yards in front of him, collected the ball and fired it into the back of the goal for his first goal of the season.

Williams would respond on a turnover by Tufts in the 36th minute. Gass received a pass from Rick Usami in his own half of the field and drove down the sideline. His push seemed to be stopped down near the end line, but Gass managed to cut back up the field and gain enough free space to fire a near-no-angle shot on goal. The shot deflected off the right post and in to tie the game at one.

The Ephs continued to ride the momentum as they would take the lead in the 41st minute. Jules Oberg fired a shot that was blocked by Tufts which gave Williams a corner kick. Nick Ranieri took the corner kick from the right corner and found the back post which is where Jake Saudek was waiting to head home the second goal for Williams.

Early in the second half, the teams traded opportunities. Rojas took a free kick from in front of the Tufts bench. The ball would bounce around in the box and find junior Calvin Aroh, but his shot was blocked. That resulted in two quick corner kicks for the Jumbos, but nothing came of the opportunities. About two minutes later, the Ephs had a golden opportunity to extend the lead, but fired a shot high on a near empty goal. Sophomore Aidan Welsh added another opportunity for the Jumbos as he headed a free kick from Van Brewer towards the goal, but it was directed wide.

All the opportunities for the Jumbos eventually paid off in the 66th minute. A long throw by sophomore Ian Daly found Rojas in front of the goal. Rojas headed the ball towards the left post which found Aroh who was all alone on the doorstep. His first of the season tied the game at two.

Tufts would take the lead in the 77th minute on a left-footed strike by Van Brewer. Junior Biagio Paoletta played a ball forward to senior Gavin Tasker near mid-field. Tasker drove forward into the Eph attacking zone and passed to his left to Van Brewer. His shot from about 25 yards out beat Eph goalkeeper Teddy Rader in the top right corner of the goal.

In the remaining time, the Jumbos locked down defensively without allowing strong opportunities for Williams to tie the contest.

Harned faced three shots on goal in the win, making one save and improving to 2-0-0 on the season. His counterpart, Rader, made one save on four shots on goal in the losing effort.

Williams outshot the Jumbos 11-8, but Tufts earned six corner kicks to Williams' five.

The Jumbos are next in action on Wednesday at Keene State. They are slated to start at 7 pm. The Ephs will travel to RPI on Wednesday for a 7:30 pm start.