MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- Although each time has qualified as an upset, the Bates men's soccer team came away the winner in its third consecutive trip to Middlebury on Saturday, prevailing 2-0 on the strength of excellent defense and another two goals by senior captain John Murphy.
Middlebury edged Bates 5-2 in shots on goal in the first half, but the teams remained in a scoreless tie through intermission. Early in the second half, two quick Middlebury attacks were thwarted with saves from first-year goalie Joe Maffly-Kipp (Chapel Hill, N.C.).
Murphy (Yarmouth, Maine) snared the lead for the Bobcats with a free kick at the 52:05 mark from the right side. The shot was a low curving blast that skipped once and found its way into the back of the net. In Bates' previous game, a 5-1 win at Southern Maine on Wednesday, Murphy scored three times and assisted on Bates' two other goals.
The Panthers looked to tie the game in the 72nd minute as a header from Deklan Robinson after service from Graham Knisley went just over the crossbar.
Bates gained some breathing room not long after, with the second of the game from Murphy at the 73:34 mark. After taking a nice ball from senior Ethan Hirshberg (Concord, N.H.) on a counter-attack, Murphy broke in one-on-one and scored with a shot that just caught a piece of Panther keeper Zach Abdu-Glass.
Maffly-Kipp (four saves) played exceptionally well in goal for Bates -- even when he wasn't making saves, he was aggressively breaking up Panthers' scoring opportunities in the box, along with Bates' stellar back line.
Bates' win continues a remarkable streak, while at the same time ending a regrettable one. It is the Bobcats' first NESCAC victory since they last visited Middlebury, a 1-0 Bobcat triumph on Oct. 23, 2010 over the then-No. 5 nationally ranked Panthers. That game's lone goal was an unassisted tally by none other than Murphy in the 39th minute.
Two years prior to that, on Oct. 18, 2008, Bates scored a 1-0 upset win over the then-No. 3 nationally ranked Panthers, ending their 18-game unbeaten streak. Dae Ro Lee '11 scored that game's lone goal on a corner kick.
Bates and Colby both wrap up their seasons with a NESCAC game on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 3pm at Russell Street Field (Video).