Coming off two Homecoming Weekend wins, the Bowdoin men’s soccer team traveled to Connecticut College last Saturday to beat the Camels (7-3-2 overall, 3-3-3 NESCAC) 2-1. After starting their season 0-2-2 in conference play, the Polar Bears have now won four straight conference games and eight straight total matches.
The victory moved the team into fourth place in the NESCAC standings. The match started off with a scoreless first half, and although both teams had opportunities, Bowdoin got on the scoreboard first when Andrew Jones ’16 scored in the 52nd minute off a cross by Hunter Miller ’16.
But the game stayed close. Just six minutes later the Camel’s Zach Punt ripped in a lower 90 goal. The Camels kept pressure on Bowdoin’s defense throughout the half, but Bowdoin found an opportunity when Connor Keefe ’16 crossed a ball to the back post and Cedric Charlier ’17 knocked in the winning goal in the 71st minute. This marked Charlier’s second game-winner in as many matches.
“Although we didn’t pass too well and we gave them some chances to score, our defense really held us up in the end,” said Head Coach Scott Wiercinski.
“It was a really close game, but we were able to capitalize on our opportunities,” he added. “We needed the win and we got it.”
“It was a game we wanted to win,” said Charlier. “It was their homecoming, there were a bunch of people there, and they were tied with us in the standings [before the win].”
“They were pressuring us a lot so it was out of the run of play,” he said of his goal. “But it was a great ball from Connor Keefe and I was happy I was able to make something happen.”
The next morning the team came home and battled Babson College (9-6-1) to a 1-0 victory. The Polar Bears got a lucky start as two of Babson’s early shots hit the crossbar. Despite the pressure, Bowdoin was able to keep the Beavers off of the scoreboard. In the 27th minute, Babson goalie Jackson Klein mauled Keefe in the box, drawing a foul. Keefe laid the penalty kick into the lower left corner—just beyond the reach of Klein—for the goal.
Babson had some opportunities in the second half but the Polar Bears—despite a depleted roster due to injuries—were able to keep the Beavers scoreless and come out with yet another win.
“We had some breaks go our way, a couple crossbars which could have easily been goals,” said Charlier. “But those type of wins can be more important for teams, especially that are starting to move up a little bit. You need to grind out some games, and this was definitely one of those games.”
Despite the recent winning streak, the team has maintained a consistent mindset throughout the year.
“Our team morale has been pretty constant,” said Charlier. “Our captains keep us focused, our older guys keep us focused, and our coach definitely keeps us focused. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and we don’t want to hold ourselves back either.”
After juggling goalies at the start of the season, Wiercinski has settled on Noah Safian ’17 for the last four games. Safian captures the team’s steady attitude in his play.
“He is a consistent player,” said Wiercinski, “and if he keeps playing this way he’ll have the chance to stay in [goal].”
The team plays Colby—winless in conference this year—over Family Weekend, but is going into the game with its same, steady attitude despite its new place in the top half of the conference.
“If we go into the game thinking we’re playing a bad team, we’re going to lose,” said Wiercinski. “But, if we go in thinking we are playing a good team, and we can play well, we’ll win the game.”