November 30, 2012

Ohio Northern holds on for the 3-2 win over Williams

Senior Austin Windsor scored the game winning goal for the Polar Bears in their semifinal match with Williams
Photo by Eric Kelly,

Williams College made it close with a goal in the final minute, but Ohio Northern held on and defeated the Ephs 3-2. The Polar Bears will face Messiah on Saturday in their first ever title match.

Ohio Northern - Williams box score

Williams College is no stranger to the post-season and that showed as they came out swinging in their battle with Ohio Northern, as junior User Kushaina gave the Ephs a one goal lead just minutes into the match. Senior Patrick Ebobisse had the assist.

Senior Nate Bascom provided the equalizer in the 16th minute, providing the Polar Bears some momentum. Bascom's goal was assisted by Senior Cameron Johnson.

As the half ended, the Polar Bears continued to press the Williams goal, and that pressure continued as the second half got underway. In the 52nd minute, Bascom set up junior Jeremy Barnes and Barnes converted for the 2-1 lead. 

Junior User Kushaina's goal gave the Ephs a 1-0 lead in their national semifinal match
Photo by Eric Kelly,

Williams responded with an increased sense of urgency, but couldn't create much in the way dangerous opportunities. The Polar Bears gave themselves some breathing room when senior Austin Windsor scored in the 78th minute on a long shot from outside the box. The play was created off a short corner kick from senior Chris Matejka, and was an example of the ball control that Onio Northern displayed in the late stages of the match.

Senior Peter Christman finally broke through for the Ephs with a goal, but with only one minute to play, there was no time for Williams to regroup and push the match to overtime. 

Williams outshot Ohio Northern 23-16, but lagged in shot-on-goal 12-8. Polar Bear senior Mac Church had six saves in the match, while Ephs senior Than Finan had eight. The Ephs finish at 16-2-4, while the Polar Bears improve to 25-2-0, and move on to face Messiah in Saturday's final at 1:30 pm.

Senior Mac Church had six saves for the Polar Bears
Photo by Eric Kelly,
Senior Peter Christman scored late to keep Williams in the match
Photo by Eric Kelly,













Post-game Analysis

By Christan Shirk

Williams couldn't have scripted a better start when they scored 9 minutes into the contest. It was an invaluable lead for a team that only averages 1.58 goals per game and had reached the Final Four more because of their defense than offense. Going down a goal seemed to awaken Ohio Northern who were flat to that point. Their attack started to kick into gear and it was only a matter of time until they grabbed a goal of their own. The wait was a mere seven minutes. That could have set the Polar Bears on a role, but Williams continued to have their fair share of possession and they put Ohio Northern on their heels more than expected. In fact it was Williams who took more first half shots though Ohio Northern put one more on frame and looked more dangerous.

Coming out of halftime, Williams continued to get time and space to attack, but Ohio Northern looked more accomplished when pressuring the Williams goal and soon took the lead when they cut through the Ephs backline in the 52nd minute. The teams traded shots much more than was expected, but, in keeping with their poor season-long shooting percentage, Williams was unable to convert any of their chances while the Polar Bears doubled their advanatage in the 78th minute. Credit to Williams for continuing to press and even though it was too little, too late, a goal two minutes from time was a fair reward for their efforts.

We didn't see the defense from Williams that shutout Amherst two weeks ago, and conversely it was surprising to see how often they were able to get into the attacking third and test the Polar Bear defense. Ohio Northern will need to do better closing players down against Messiah or they will find themselves playing even more defense and probably paying a higher price. On the positive side, the Polar Bears placed 12 shots on frame and scored three goals despite being held to below their season average shots per game.

No contests today.
No contests today.
No contests today.