Berkshire Eagle Staff
AMHERST -- The Williams College men’s soccer team is one victory away from a trip to the NCAA Division III Final Four.
Patrick Ebobisse’s goal midway through the second half broke up a scoreless tie and gave the Ephs a 1-0 victory over Brandeis in a Round of 16 game Saturday morning at Amherst College.
The Ephs will face Amherst this afternoon at 1:30 for the regional championship. The Lord Jeffs beat Swarthmore 2-1 in the second game of the Round of 16 doubleheader.
This will give Williams a chance to avenge a 2-0 loss on Cole Field to the Jeffs that gave Amherst the NESCAC men’s soccer title.
Williams is seeking to be the first NESCAC team to win two Division III national titles. The Ephs won the title in 1995 playing on Cole Field while Middlebury claimed the 2007 national crown.
The game was scoreless through a fairly even first half. Both teams had four shots. Williams had three corner kicks to two for the Judges. Brandeis goalie Blake Minchoff had to make two first-half saves, but Eph netminder Than Finan made none.
That changed in the second half as the Judges outshot the Ephs 11-6 and Finan was forced to make four saves. Minchoff had two more saves, but the one he couldn’t get to, cost his team dearly.
NESCAC rookie of the year Mohammed Rashid got to the ball deep on the left. The freshman got by a Brandeis defender and crosed the ball toward the six-yard box. Ebobisse ran on the ball and put it behind Minchoff at 63:20.
There were still almost 17 minutes of regulation-time soccer to play, and Brandeis put on the pressure. The Judges kept the ball in the Williams defensive zone for most of that time, but didn’t get any real testing shots off at Finan.
The last time Williams advanced to a Final Four, the Ephs had to do it on the road and won two games at York (Pa.) College. Finan, co-captains Matt Ratajczak and Peter Christman and Ebobisse, were freshmen on that team.