WILLIAMSTOWN — A year ago, the Williams College men's soccer team had trouble winning games at Cole Field and had trouble winning games in overtime. In 2016, the Ephs have fixed the former and are close to fixing the latter.
Mark Sisco-Tolomeo's goal in the 74th minute drew Williams (7-2-3, 4-2-1 NESCAC) even with visiting Bowdoin (7-3-3, 3-3-2). Neither team could find the back of the net again as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
With one contest remaining on Cole, Williams is now 6-0-2 at home. The Ephs beat Wesleyan in overtime on Saturday and have three overtime draws. Last year, Williams was 2-4-1 at home and 1-3-2 in overtime.
"It's been a lot different. We're not getting wins quite yet, but we're getting ties and not losing the game is huge," said Williams midfielder J.C. Bahr de Stefano. "It's a first step. It's not losing, and then it's winning.
"We're still working toward winning and really grabbing the moment and kicking the door down when we have the chance."
Williams has now gone 1-0-2 after losing two of its previous three games.
"For us, where we are at that stage of the season, in the standings and with back-to-back games, this is really an important point," Williams coach Erin Sullivan said.
With three regular-season matches left to play, Williams is tied for fourth in the league standings with Hamilton. The top eight teams earn berths in the NESCAC postseason tournament, and the top four teams are at home for the first round. The Ephs play at Hamilton on Wednesday.
"I think it's [a point] that will show up more clearly after the next three games," said Sullivan. "We feel there's a chance that the results this weekend will kind of carry us into the postseason tournament. Now we want to aim for a top-four seed to play at home."
After a scoreless first half, the Polar Bears got on the board first. A ball struck Bahr de Stefano on the arm, and a hand ball was whistled. Matty McColl took the free kick from about 30 yards out got through a mass of players and Ethan Ellsworth tapped the ball past Williams goalkeeper Christian Alcorn.
The Ephs, who forced Bowdoin keeper Noah Safian to make two saves in the first half, had not taken a shot in the second half until they tied the game.
Williams' Mohammed Rashid took a corner kick from the left side. The ball sailed into the box where Sisco-Tolomeo got a head on it. Safian didn't have a chance on the play, and with 16 minutes to go, the game was tied. It was Sisco-Tolomeo's team-leading fifth goal of the season.
Rashid had a chance to untie the game in the 82nd minute, but Safian made a diving stop on a shot from the left side that was aimed for the far post. Neither team had a great scoring opportunity in either of the two, 10-minute overtime periods.
"We're still talking about a club that had some struggles in overtime last year," said Sullivan. "We're righting the ship. Winning our first OT game here yesterday and getting a point today is a sign of growth. There's a mental toughness factor that's coming out
"We can play much better soccer, but mental toughness counts a lot when you're trying to get to the postseason."
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.