WATERVILLE, Maine -- First-year Bobby Dall's dazzling goal with 17 seconds left in the first overtime period lifted the Bates men's soccer team to a 2-1 comeback victory at rival Colby on Tuesday afternoon, capping the Bobcats' best regular-season final record since 2005.
Bates (9-5-1, 5-4-1 NESCAC) snapped a three-game skid and matched the 2004 Bobcats for the most NESCAC victories in a season. They reached the nine-victory mark for the first time since 2008.
The Bobcats finish fifth in the conference standings; as the fifth seed, they will play at fourth-seeded Williams in the NESCAC quarterfinals this Saturday. On Oct. 19 in Williamstown, Williams defeated Bates 1-0 on a penalty kick in double-overtime.
Colby (6-6-3, 2-6-2 NESCAC) finished the season in ninth place in the conference, one point behind eighth-place Wesleyan.
The Bobcats pulled off the win despite losing several players to injury during the game, including senior Liam Goldfarb (New York, N.Y.), sophomore James Peter (York, Maine) and first-year Alex Kovacs (Hopkinton, Mass.). Bates has already missing the services of midfielders Peder Bakken (since Sept. 14) and Owen Keleher (since Oct. 19).
"We're battered and bruised, but we remain unbroken," said head coach Tyler Sheikh. "To end the game without two first-choice center backs and two center mids, but still gut out a win showed our Bobat pride."
In the game's 100th minute, with one touch Dall (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) picked off a clearing attempt by Conor Larkin near midfield by volleying the ball over the head of tall defender Jared Wood, then winning a battle of body position with Wood to gain control of the ball. Dall then tapped the ball to his left to get past a second Colby defender. Approaching the 18, Dall managed to slot a low shot to the left of Colby defender Kevin Traore's cleat and through the short gap between Colby goalie Stanley Clarke and the right post, ending the game with 17 seconds on the clock.
Following a scoreless first half, Colby took a 1-0 lead 3:20 into the second half, with Nicholas Lemire scoring on an assist by Ethan Fabricant.
The Mules held the lead for over 17 minutes until the Bobcats tied it back up in the 66th minute. Senior defender Julien Williamson's (Sandy, Utah) throw-in into the box was headed further on by first-year Max McKersie (Arlington, Mass.). The ball glanced off the head of a Colby defender and continued over toward the left post, where senior Beaufils Kimpolo-Pene (Bronx, N.Y.) used his track and field high-jumping skill to elevate and kick the ball inside the near post. The goal is Kimpolo-Pene's third this season and the ninth in his career. McKersie was credited with his first assist.
Junior David Goodstein (Bethesda, Md.) made six saves in net for the Bobcats, while Clarke made five for the Mules. Bates outshot Colby 13-9, but the hosts had a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks.
"We will regroup, rally and be all heart from here on out," said Sheikh.