Men's soccer blanks Conn. College, advances to NESCAC semis

Roth Wetzel '22 (Josh McKee photo)
Roth Wetzel '22 (Josh McKee photo)
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Hamilton College's Roth Wetzel '22 scored in the 58th minute and the Continentals held on for a 1-0 victory against the Connecticut College Camels in a 2018 NESCAC Men's Soccer Championship quarterfinal at Conn. College's Harkness Field on Sunday afternoon.

Aidan Wood '20 gained possession near the left sideline in Hamilton's offensive zone, split two defenders and dribbled towards the 18-yard box. As Wood entered the box from the left side he passed to Wetzel near the top of the box. Wetzel took a couple dribbles to the center of the field and he hammered a right-footed shot from 18 yards out inside the left post. The goal is Wetzel's third and he leads the team with seven points. Wood picked up his third assist this year and the ninth of his collegiate career.

The Continentals (9-6-1 overall) are the seventh seed for the championship. Hamilton advanced to the semifinals for the third straight year and improved its record to 4-3-0 in this event since joining the NESCAC for soccer in 2011. The Continentals, who recorded their ninth shutout this season, also edged Conn. College at home in the 2016 quarterfinals in a 2-1 overtime thriller.

The Camels (12-2-2) are the second seed for the championship. Conn. College is ranked second in the New England Region by the NCAA, seventh in the Division III Top 25 coaches poll and 12th in the Top 25 poll. The Camels, who won 1-0 at Hamilton back on Sept. 22, have just one win in 11 championship appearances. Conn. College lost for the first time in nine home games this year and allowed just their fourth goal in 16 contests.

Thomas Benson '22 made six of his eight saves in the second half and posted his fifth shutout for the Continentals. Benson made four of those stops in the final 10 minutes as the Camels unleashed a flurry of shots at the Hamilton goal. He lowered his goals against average to 0.57 and improved his save percentage to .921.

Connecticut College controlled play for most of the first half as the Camels enjoyed a 10-4 shot advantage and took all seven of the corner kicks during the opening 45 minutes. All four of the Continentals' shots were on goal in the first half, and Conn. College goalkeeper AJ Marcucci finished the contest with five saves.

Hamilton will play Williams College at Amherst College in the semifinals at either 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3. Williams is the sixth seed and won 1-0 at Middlebury College on Oct. 27. The Ephs edged the Continentals 1-0 at Hamilton on Oct. 17.