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Men's soccer falls on heartbreaker in final minutes, 1-0

Tyler Grees '14 nearly put Bates ahead of Middlebury in the second half. (File photo)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Martin Drolet scored past a drawn-out Bates defense with 4:55 left, allowing Middlebury College to hand the Bates College men's soccer team a frustrating 1-0 NESCAC loss on Saturday at Russell Street Field.

Middlebury raised its record to 6-3-3, 2-3-3 in conference, while the Bobcats stayed winless in NESCAC play at 0-9 (4-9 overall). The game was evenly played, with Middlebury achieving a slight 22-20 edge in shots.

Both teams' offenses had opportunities in the first half. The first was at the 5:00 minute mark, when Middlebury's Tyler Macnee had Bates goalkeeper Greg Watts (West Chester, Pa.) beaten, only to have a Bates defender block the ball on the goal line and clear it.  Throughout the remainder of the half, Bates' best chances came from their six corner kicks, with junior John Murphy (Yarmouth, Maine) serving up brilliant corners, but the Panther defense was able to deny the Bobcats each time.

The second half produced more of the same back-and-forth action.  A Bates opportunity came along at the 26 minute mark, when junior Ryan March (Concord, N.H.) launched a missile of a shot just over the net from just outside the Middlebury penalty area.  Later in the period, sophomore Tyler Grees (Williamstown, Mass.) found himself with a golden opportunity when a Murphy corner cross landed at his feet. Grees one-timed his deflection, only to have Middlebury goalkeeper Tim Cahill come up with the save. 

It was in the 86th minute that Middlebury was able to break through and get its only goal. As Middlebury counter-attacked off of a Bates opportunity, Watts found himself out of the goal at the top of the 18-yard box to help disrupt a long pass.  As Watts, the Panther forward and a Bates defender converged, the ball ricocheted back towards midfield, where Drolet launched a shot into the open net from over 30 yards away.

Bates wraps up the season on Wednesday with a 3 p.m. NESCAC game at Colby.

STATS: Middlebury 1, Bates 0