Tufts and Middlebury Play to 0-0 Draw in NESCAC Men's Soccer Game

Sean Traynor MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - The third-ranked Jumbo men's soccer team closed out a NESCAC weekend road trip against the Middlebury Panthers in an important conference match-up on Sunday. Both teams headed into the game coming off of 3-0 wins yesterday against NESCAC opponents. The hard-fought match-up saw chances for both sides, but ultimately ended in a 0-0 draw after two overtime periods.

Tufts (9-0-2, 5-0-2 NESCAC), took the majority of the competition's early attacking efforts as just seven minutes in Sean Traynor (pictured) corralled a cross at the top of the box and took the game's first shot that forced a quality save from Middlebury keeper sophomore Ryan Grady. Moments later Jumbo Max Jacbos found himself at the end of another cross, quickly
settling before attempting a shot which just sailed wide right for the second good opportunity for the Jumbos early.

The Panthers (7-2-1, 4-2-1 NESCAC) seemed to settle in towards the final 20 minutes of the first half earning a number of free kicks and corners to mount a bit of pressure against the 'Bos
defense. Late in the first half, Tufts captain Calvin Aroh was dealt the first of five yellow cards given out in the game from a strong challenge near midfield which Middlebury used in a strong fashion, picking out a number of quick passes off of the free kick before a header that just missed keeping the score 0-0 where it remained for the rest of the first half.

The Jumbos headed into the second half hoping to start up the offense as they did yesterday having scored their three goals in the second half. After some back-and-forth play with the best of the chances coming from a Jumbos' header off a set play, the game's pace swiftly changed after a 65th-minute second yellow card by Middlebury captain Raffi Barsamian forced the Panthers to finish the game with 10 men. Even with the player difference this lit a fire under Middlebury as they quickly put together a nice play up the left sideline before slotting a ball back to the middle which was taken on net by Noah Hannam forcing a wonderful save from Tufts freshman goalie Erik Lauta.

Around the 70-minute mark, Tufts really began to put on some pressure and with nine minutes to go in the half Travis Van Brewer picked out Zach Seigelstein with space
in the box, but his quick shot was comfortably saved by Grady. This posed to be the last true chance on goal for either side in regulation and ultimately the conference match-up headed into overtime.

Overtime remained much the same for both sides trading blows, with the best opportunity coming as Tufts' Ian Daly took a ball into the right side of the box dropping off a quick pass on the turf to Aroh who just got under the ball sailing it over net. With 13 seconds to play, a free kick was awarded to the Panthers and Grady drilled a ball into the box from half, finding no Middlebury heads and bouncing out of play for the clock to expire.

Shots ended up 15-10 in favor of Tufts, while the Jumbos took corner opportunities as well 8-5. It's the eighth clean sheet of the season for Lauta, who made two saves. Grady's shutout is the first against Tufts this fall as he finished with five saves.

Tufts second-year head coach Kyle Dezotell was returning to his alma mater for the first time since taking the Jumbo job. He is the Panthers' all-time leading goal scorer.

The Jumbos are back home next Saturday the 16th versus Amherst at 3 pm, while the Panthers take on Eastern Nazarene this Wednesday.

Written by Leo Freund, Athletic Communications Intern