LEWISTON, Maine -- First-year Bobby Dall headed the ball into the back of the net in the 37th minute to give the Bates men's soccer team a lead it did not relinquish in a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten No. 15 nationally ranked Middlebury Saturday afternoon at Russell Street Field.
Bates (6-2-1, 2-2-1 NESCAC) has now beaten Middlebury (5-1-3, 2-1-3 NESCAC) in men's soccer three of the last four years.
In the 37th minute, first-year Charlie Pappas (Harvard, Mass.) won the ball on an entry feed and fed it ahead to the near corner where sophomore Alec Szwarcewicz (Newton, Mass.) was waiting. Szwarcewicz crossed the ball to the back post and Dall (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) rose above the Middlebury defenders, heading the ball past Panther keeper Ryan Grady for the lone goal of the match for either side. It's the first goal of Dall's collegiate career.
"We know these games are a bounce of the ball, but the seniors have led a young squad to understand what it takes to fight for those bounces," head coach Tyler Sheikh said. "Today, they went for us and I'm glad it came from a great goal."
Bates tallied 12 shots on Saturday to Middlebury's 10. Senior Eric Opoku (Accra, Ghana) paced the Bobcats with a pair of shots on goal. Brendan Barry recorded three shots on goal to lead Middlebury.
Grady made four saves for the Panthers between the pipes and junior captain David Goodstein (Bethesda, Md.) made four saves for Bates, earning his second solo shutout of the season and his first in NESCAC action. Bates has been stout on defense all season, not allowing more than one goal in any match and recording four shutouts total. Sophomore Frederick Hohmann (Bonn, Germany) made a key defensive save off a Panther header in the 25th minute.
The Bobcats survived five Middlebury corner kicks on the afternoon, four of which came in the second half.
Saturday's win brings the Hedley Reynolds Cup back to Lewiston after the Bobcats fell to the Panthers last year. Reynolds served as the President of Bates from 1967-1989. Prior to arriving in Lewiston, he was a member of the Middlebury faculty for 18 years. Reynolds played a key role bringing soccer to both Bates and Middlebury during his long career in academia.
Bates looks to move over .500 in NESCAC action Sunday when the Bobcats host Trinity (1-8, 0-5 NESCAC) at 3pm on Russell Street Field.