The men’s soccer team gave Hamilton a rude welcoming to the NESCAC, defeating the Continentals 1-0 in the inaugural conference meeting between the two programs. Junior Spencer Noon’s 17th-minute goal provided all the offense the team would need.
Noon has been in top form of late. The forward has recorded goals in each of the last three games. This particular finish was a direct result of all the practice time the team has put in on the pitch.
“I received a diagonal ball through, and fired a shot at the goalkeeper. He made a great save, but fortunately I was in the right position to follow it up and score the rebound. Coach Serpone always tells our attacking players to follow up our chances so it was great to get a goal that way.”
The defense was particularly good against Hamilton, as the Jeffs limited their opponents to only 12 shots, while on the offensive end, the Jeffs fired 20 shots. Noon borrowed a football metaphor to describe the Jeffs’ stingy backline, comparing the Jeffs’ outside fullbacks to two dominant New York Jets’ cornerbacks.
“Chris Lerner ’13 and Julian Aoyoma ’14 have been playing extremely well at outside-back this year. We call them Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie because they shut attacking players down on their own without help.”
In “fútbol” terms, Aoyama models his game after the famous Real Madrid right back Sergio Ramos. Like Ramos, Aoyama understands his defensive abilities, but he is more than just a solid defender. Like the Spanish right back he emulates, Aoyama attacks with a vengeance equaled only by his aggressive defending.
Part of the defensive success can be attributed to one center midfielder in particular. As his coach, Justin Serpone, put it, senior co-captain “Thebe Tsatsimpe has been integral to our early success on both sides of the ball. He’s so determined, so talented and such a leader that his energy rubs off on all of his teammates.”
The scary thing for teams like Hamilton is that the Jeffs feel they have yet to play their best game. Lennard Kovacs ’12, who saved all five shots he faced, put it simply. “We haven’t played well yet for a full 90 minutes. If we do not figure out how we are going to bring our best performance for a full game we might get in trouble very soon. I would not call our defense stellar so far.”
“We have already given up three goals in just five games, and considering the goals we have let up these are at least two too many,” Kovacs said. Nevertheless, the Jeffs have recorded two straight shutout victories after somewhat shaky defensive performances against Bates (3-2) and Bridgewater State (2-1).
The Jeffs have a difficult week ahead and hope to put forth their best effort in all three games. They play at Gordon tonight before returning home to take on Tufts and Lesley, on Saturday and Monday respectively.
Serpone has not looked ahead all season and is not going to start now. “We have three games in six days over the course of the next week. This is a point in the season where we are going to either take a big step forward or a big step back,” he said.
“I know I’m going to coach as hard as I possibly can over this next week,” Serpone said. It’s an important time and the first challenge will be a battle-tested Gordon team on Wednesday night.”