|John Murphy scored the biggest goal of his career, the game-winner in a 1-0 win at No. 5 Middlebury.|
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- Bates sophomore John Murphy (Yarmouth, Maine) scored an unassisted goal in the 39th minute as the Bates men's soccer team scored a 1-0 upset victory at No. 5 nationally ranked Middlebury on Saturday.
Bates' second conference win put the Bobcats into a three-way tie for seventh place in the NESCAC, with one game left to play -- against Colby at home on Friday, Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. -- before the eight-team NESCAC Championship begins. Bates, Trinity and Connecticut College all have seven points and identical 2-5-1 conference records, and all three are 1-1-0 against the other two combined. Friday afternoon's games will help decide who gets left out of the tournament, as Conn plays at Wesleyan and Trinity plays at Amherst.
Friday's game against Colby can be seen via live video webcast.
Junior goalie Greg Watts (West Chester, Pa.) made four saves to post his second shutout of the season.
The Panthers (11-2-0, 6-2-0 NESCAC) had won four straight games and had allowed just three total goals in their previous 12 contests. Middlebury needs a win at Williams next Friday to secure the top spot in the upcoming NESCAC Tournament, while several other tie-breaking scenarios also exist.
Middlebury had a nice chance to score early, as Carson Cornbrooks missed just wide in the 20th minute after beating a pair of defenders.
Bates (5-7-1, 2-6-1) answered with an opportunity of their own five minutes later, when senior Patrick Jackson's (Durham, N.H.) blast sailed over the crossbar after a header pass from junior David Wood (Contoocook, N.H.).
Middlebury's Tyler Macnee just missed with a blast in the 27th minute, while Tyler Smith was denied by a save by Watts in the 31st minute.
Bates scored the game's only goal at 38:08 when Murphy netted his third tally of the season, unassisted. After a restart, Murphy blasted a perfectly placed shot into the top of the net from 23 yards out.
Middlebury kept up the pressure in the second half, outshooting Bates 9-1, but could not earn the equalizer. Robbie Redmond was denied from 25 yards out five minutes into the second half, with the rebound being cleared after a scrum. Smith just missed with a header in the box at 70:08, after taking a cross from Redmond. Their final chance came at 77:42, as Harrison Watkins took a cross from Cornbrooks and then saw his shot denied by Watts, who made his fourth saves of the game.
The result is strikingly reminiscent of the teams' matchup two years ago, on Oct. 18, 2008, when Bates defeated the then No. 3 nationally ranked Panthers 1-0, on a corner kick goal by Dae Ro Lee '11 (Yongin, South Korea) in a game also played at Middlebury, ending their 18-game unbeaten streak.