Hartford, Conn. – After falling behind 2-0 early, the Middlebury College Panthers scored three unanswered goals to come away with a 3-2 victory over the Trinity College Bantams on Saturday in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) men's soccer action in rainy Hartford. The Panthers improve to 6-2-3 overall and 3-2-2 in conference play while the Bantams fall to 2-10 on the year and 0-8 in the league.
The Bantams jumped out to an early lead thanks to great passing and a pair of scores from sophomore striker Alistair Matule (Charlestown, Mass.). In the 19th minute, sophomore John Mullin (Famouth, Mass.) played possession near midfield and sent a perfect through-ball to Matule who snuck past the Panther defense. With a clear shot in front of him, Matule bent the ball around Middlebury goalie Matthew Hyer (Sudbury, Mass.) and into the back of the net for the early lead. Matule struck again in the 24th minute off an assist from rookie Logan Peterson (Nottingham, Md.) who set up Matule with a pass just inside the Panther's box.
Middlebury returned the favor ten minutes after Matule's second goal when Drew Goulart (Weston, Mass.) settled a loose ball in Trinity's defensive third and buried it into the back of the net to cut the deficit to 2-1. Then, in the 38th minute, Daniel O'Grady (New York, N.Y.) raced down the near sideline with space in front of him, eventually drawing Trinity first-year keeper Everett Lyons (Southport, Conn.) out of goal to try and stifle a shot. O'Grady was able to chip the shot past Lyons for the equalizer.
The Panthers added one more score with less than two minutes left before the half. Trinity was whistled for a foul just outside their own box which gave the Panthers a set-piece opportunity. Brendan Barry (Wethersfield, Conn.) sent a pass off the set into the box which found the head of Aidan Robinson (Gloucester, Mass.). Robinson redirected the ball past Lyons and into the back of the net to give the visitors a 3-2 lead heading into the break.
The score stood as the final with neither team either to find the back of the net in the second half. After combining for 14 shots in the first half, the two sides played a slower paced second frame which saw just four shots on net. Trinity nearly found the equalizer in the 85th minute when a shot by Mullin look destined for goal with Hyer out of position, however a Panther defender stopped the shot just before the goal line to preserve the 3-2 lead and eventual victory.
Trinity returns to the pitch tomorrow afternoon for a 3 p.m. match versus Tufts. The Bantams will honor the members of its senior class before the game as part of Senior Day.