Late score lifts Colby past men's soccer in season finale

Peabo Knoth and three fellow Bates seniors played valiantly in their season-ending game against Colby on Oct. 26, 2016. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College) 

LEWISTON, Maine -- Colby sophomore Kyle Douglas scored with 9:18 left in regulation to break a scoreless tie, as the visiting Mules defeated the Bates men's soccer team 1-0 in the season finale for both teams.

With little else but pride on the line for the rivals, Colby (5-8-2, 2-6-2 NESCAC) leapfrogged over Bates (6-7-2, 2-7-1 NESCAC) into ninth place in the final conference standings. Bates finishes in 10th place.

The evenly played game saw both teams achieve and narrowly miss on several scoring opportunities in both periods. Bates outshot Colby 23-17 overall and 9-6 in shots on goal.

In the 81st minute, Colby sophomore Jansen Aoyama centered a pass from the left side towards the top of the Bates penalty area. Douglas beat a Bates defender to the ball with no one else in the vicinity, and he got his right foot on the ball enough to poke it past the reach of Bates sophomore goalie Robbie Montanaro (Belmont, Mass.) to put the Mules in the lead. The goal was Douglas's team-high third of the season, and the assist was Aoyama's first.

The scoreless first half was an unusual one in that Colby attempted a whopping eight corner kicks, but the Mules got only one shot on goal for the entire period. Bates outshot Colby 9-8 and had a 5-1 advantage in shots on goal, with Colby's first-year keeper Stanley Clarke making five saves. 

One of those saves stood out as Bates' best threat to score. In the 21st minute, first-year Eric Opoku (Accra, Ghana) made a brilliant one-on-one move to shake loose a defender on the top left corner of the Colby penalty area. Opoku's hard, low shot seemed destined to tuck inside the near post, but the 6-foot-3 Clarke dove to bat the ball away. In the 27th minute, Clarke stoned senior Peabo Knoth (Portland, Maine) from close range as Knoth fired from a tight angle.

Montanaro's lone save in the first half came in the 39th minute, turning away Richie Gutierrez's header on a corner kick by David Howarth. Colby's best threat in the first half came in the 12th minute, when  Aoyama's shot from the left side of the box caromed off of the crossbar. 

Colby mounted the first big scoring threat of the second half in the 68th minute, when Douglas was able to line up an open shot near the middle of the penalty area, which Montanaro deflected away, before one of his defenders cleared the ball near the right post.

In the 73rd minute, Knoth settled and unleashed a left-footed shot that barely skimmed over the crossbar.

In the 77th minute, a long free kick from the right by Colby's David Howarth also hit the crossbar.

In the 81st minute, Cam Clouse headed Grady Jendzejec's corner kick just over the crossbar, before Douglas tallied later in the same minute.

With under eight minutes to go, Bates junior Nate Merchant (Los Angeles, Calif.) was able to turn and strike a hard shot but Clarke was in position for the save. Merchant shot high again with under three minutes left.

The game was the final one in the careers of four Bates seniors: Matt DiVite (Murray Hill, N.J.), Knoth (Portland, Maine, captain Luke McNabb (Glastonbury, Conn.) and Jack Martell (Gray, Maine).