Men's soccer takes No. 3 Tufts to overtime, falls 1-0 on the road

Robbie Montanaro and the Bates defense held No. 3 Tufts scoreless in regulation before falling 1-0 in overtime on Saturday, September 15, 2018. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

MEDFORD, Mass. -- Sterling Weatherbie found the ball on his foot after it was bouncing around in a scrum off a corner and put it in the back of the net in the 95th minute to give the No. 3 nationally ranked Tufts University Jumbos a narrow 1-0 overtime victory over the Bates men's soccer team Saturday afternoon.

"The better team won on the day, but maybe on another day we grab a point on the road against a national championship caliber team," Bates head coach Tyler Sheikh said. "Our guys stretched themselves and I'm proud of their efforts, but we also know we can do a lot of things better."

Tufts (4-0, 2-0 NESCAC) had a great scoring opportunity early in the first minute of the contest, but Bobcat goalkeeper senior Robbie Montanaro (Belmont, Mass.) came out and made a great diving save on a left-footed boot by Travis Van Brewer. The Jumbos then had another opportunity stopped by Montanaro on a strike by Mati Cano in the 10th.

Tufts controlled the pace of the game early, but Bates stood their ground. The Bobcats (2-2, 0-2 NESCAC) settled in and held the Jumbos without a shot attempt for 18 minutes during one stretch while generating two shot attempts. 

In the first half, the Jumbos outshot the Bobcats 10-2. Montanaro had two massive stops to keep the score even. Tufts generated five corner kick opportunities to the Bates' one. Both teams' defenses came up big in the first half and set the tone. Neither team for the final 30 minutes of the half were able to get quality looks at the goal.

The second half started with multiple fouls called on both teams as each was looking to strike early. The Bobcats generated their best opportunity of the game with a shot by senior midfielder Ben Lyons (San Rafael, Calif.) that was stopped by Jumbo goaltender Conner Mieth. The Jumbos had their best opportunities of the half in the 61st minute when Gavin Tasker had Montanaro beat and shot the ball off his right foot, but the Bobcats made a phenomenal save getting to the ball before it went in the net. Tasker got the ball back for another attempt that was denied by Montanaro.

For the next 20 minutes, the tempo was quick, but neither team could pull ahead. In the 83rd minute, Cano made a nice move with the ball, but was stopped once again by Montanaro. In the 87th, Bobcat midfielder junior captain Peder Bakken (Seattle, Wash.) had a chance go a few inches left of the net to keep things even. 

At the end of regulation, the Jumbos had spent more time in the Bobcats' end of the field, but couldn't put it past Montanaro. The Jumbos outshot the Bobcats in the second half eight (three on goal) to three (one on goal). The Bobcats committed 11 fouls to the Jumbos' seven. Tufts generated nine corners in regulation to Bates' two.

The Jumbos for the game outshot the Bobcats 20-5. Montanaro tallied a match-high five saves. Mieth improved to 4-0 in net with one save. The Jumbos generated 11 corner kicks to the Bobcats' two. 

"Our attention turns to a big doubleheader next weekend vs Wesleyan and Williams and we look forward to seeing our fans there," said Sheikh. 

Bates' match with Wesleyan on Saturday gets underway at 2pm on Russell Street Field.