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Men’s soccer defeats reigning national champs Connecticut College in tightly contested match to maintain perfect record

September 23, 2022

Courtesy of Brian Beard
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Drew Phillips '25 (right) and Harry Cooper '22 (left) celebrate after a goal. The men’s soccer team continues its undefeated season after beating Connecticut College and the Maine Maritime Academy. The team is looking ahead to its matches against Middlebury and Williams.

On Saturday, men’s soccer defeated reigning national champions and top-ranked Connecticut College (Conn.) 1–0 after winning a rainy match on Monday 5–0 against the Maine Maritime Academy. The team is off to a promising start after going 5–0–0 (4–0–0 NESCAC) for the first time since 1976.  The Polar Bears hope to continue their perfect run by furthering their momentum and focusing on teamwork on and off the field.

It was a significant win, given that Conn. played Amherst College in the NESCAC finals last season. Earlier that year, Bowdoin defeated both Conn. and Amherst but lost to Tufts University in the NESCAC quarterfinals.

“We beat both [teams] before the championships last year, and it’s [disappointing because] we could have been there,” defenseman Jack Selig ’24 said.

The Polar Bears view the win as an indication of this year’s potential.

“It is definitely just the start of what we can do. Saturday definitely set the tone. It proved that we can compete with the most competitive teams in the country, so our name should definitely be up there with the rest of the best,” goalkeeper Michael Webber ’23 said.

Webber made three saves during Saturday’s game and another on Monday to preserve the shutout, and the winning goal was scored by Everett Horch ’24 off a pass from Mateo Pacelli ’26 in the last ten minutes of the game. Despite these individual successes, the team believes the win was the result of a collective effort.

“From the guys that started and the guys that came off the bench, there was just a ton of energy and support for everyone on the field,” Webber said.

According to Head Coach Scott Wiercinski, these early victories may be a positive catalyst for the season as a whole, as the team’s confidence is buoyed by its undefeated record.

“Winning creates momentum. When you start to win and feel confident, you feel like you can keep doing it,” Wiercinski said. “With soccer, you can play really well but not score … And it can be incredibly frustrating for players and coaches. But we’ve been finding the back of the net, we’ve been scoring goals. And we’re hoping to keep that streak going and really put some defenses under a lot of stress as we attack. It feels like everything is coming together.”

Wiercinski attributes much of the team’s success to strong communication and support between older and younger players.

“I think there’s more confidence in every player on the team rather than just the few that are making an impact,” Wiercinski said. “That’s because there’s a lot of players making an impact this year. I think it’s the right sort of combination of older guys and younger guys, and it’s the right combination of talent in different positions.”

Captain Charlie Ward ’22 believes the team is stronger when everyone pitches in.

“Right now, we have a big roster for a soccer team, but everyone’s going to get their chance to be out there and contribute,” Ward said. “Everyone has an important role on the team and is hungry to play a big part this season. We had good moments of us combining well in order to score goals. It showcased the grit and determination and quality of the team as a whole.”

With nine more games against NESCAC teams this season, the Polar Bears are intent on maintaining their enthusiasm and competitive edge.

“You can’t be slowing down for those teams that you don’t believe to be as good. We have to go into every game like it’s going to be the most important,” Webber said.

The team has turned its attention to this weekend, when it will play against Middlebury College (3–1–1; 0–1–1 NESCAC) and Williams College (2–0–3; 1–0–1 NESCAC).

“The two games coming up this weekend are going to be a really good test for us,” Selig said. “I think we can make it pretty far if we stay focused and keep working hard.”

Bowdoin will host Middlebury at noon on Saturday and Williams at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Pickard Field.


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