Men's Soccer Ousts NESCAC rivals
In the span of a week, the Bowdoin Men's Soccer team dismantled three
of the most successful programs in the NESCAC, defeating Williams, Amherst,
and Middlebury in consecutive games. With the only blight on their record
a tough 4-3 loss to Wesleyan, the Polar Bears continue to climb the NCAA
rankings, progressing to their current national rank of seventh.
Said Ainscough, "I told this to the guys the other day: 'It feels nice now, but the best time to be ranked is at the end of the season.'"
Still, being ranked seventh and having the added pressure of winning in front of the numerous parents who will migrate to the Bowdoin campus this weekend is a position that Tufts must look upon with envy. The Jumbos, who suffered losses to both Bates and Wesleyan last weekend, will travel to Brunswick for a match that will be a critical one for both their morale and standing in the NESCAC.
In order to compete, the Jumbos will have to find a solution to stopping Bowdoin's two top scorers, sophomore Bobby Desilets and first-year Drew Russo. The pair has accounted for eleven of the team's fifteen goals to date. Both proved pivotal last weekend, with Desilets finding the back of the net once and Russo twice.
Desilets, a Rhode Island native who enjoys sending both the Bowdoin females and Daniel "Tex" Hayes '05 into a state of extreme excitement by pulling his shirt over his head during goal celebrations, put the Polar Bears on top against Amherst late in the first half last Saturday.
Russo, one of several talented first-years, put the game out of reach with his goal at the 31:05 mark of the first half. Though Amherst was able to crack the Polar Bear defense midway through the second half, the Polar Bears emerged victorious by a score of 2-1.
Hayes, a former Polar Bear soccer player and current placekicker on the football team, helped lead a raucous Bowdoin crowd into the Middlebury game. 16 ounce party cups in hand, the student cheering section in front of Harpswell apartments exploded late in the first half when first-year William Waters delivered one of the most beautiful goals in recent years at Pickard Field.
Just in front of the Polar Bear bench, Waters rifled a missile from his deadly left foot that was in the back of the net before the stunned Middlebury goalkeeper could react. Waters, like most spectators on Sunday, had a hard time giving his goal a fitting description.
"I've never had a goal in a game like that. Coach told me that it was a one in a hundred shot. During practice, I might make one of those, but the other 99 end up in the trees (beyond the goal)," said Waters.
Not to be outdone by his classmate, Russo gave the Polar Bears an insurmountable lead six minutes into the second half, driving a right footed volley into the top right corner of the Middlebury net, much to the delight of the fans. Hayes, whose voice had become hoarse from yelling, "Rus-so hot right now," apparently was a source of motivation for the first year scoring machine.
"Tex is awesome," said Russo. "I was on my way over to
celebrate with him but my teammates got to me first." According to
Ainscough, fans should not be at all surprised by the level of success
Russo is experiencing thus far.
To focus all on the players who score the goals for Bowdoin would be a disservice to those whose strong play prevents goals. Junior goalkeeper Travis Derr has been a commanding force in the box, while sophomore Danny Sullivan has been solid at all times as the defense's next to last resort. Another important factor has been sophomore Tommy Bresnehan's ability to win headers, stopping opponents offensive attacks while initiating Bowdoin's.
Fiery seniors Kevin Folan and Bart McMann have been both vocal and physical presences on the field, bringing experience to a team that severely lacks it. What the Polar Bears lack in experience, however, they have made up for with talent and fearlessness.
This weekend, in front of an expected overflow crowd, the Jumbos are hoping to build on recent success against Bowdoin. Said Ainscough, "Tufts has given us problems during my tenure here. They match up with us extremely well."
Still matching up well with a team is far removed from actually earning a win in a hostile environment, which is something that no Bowdoin opponent has been able to achieve this year, a streak the Polar Bears will look to build on this Saturday at noon.