Benson ’22 shines in men’s soccer NESCAC tie versus No. 1 Tufts

Thomas Benson '22 (Josh McKee photo)
Thomas Benson '22 (Josh McKee photo)

The Hamilton College Continentals battled to a 1-1 draw against the Tufts University Jumbos in NESCAC action at Hamilton's Love Field on Sunday afternoon.

Hamilton (5-5-2, 2-3-2 NESCAC) is unbeaten in its last six games while the nationally ranked No. 1 Jumbos (8-2-2, 4-1-2) went winless in three games this past week.

Thomas Benson '22 recorded his first of eight saves 12 minutes into the first half. Tufts' Zach Lane launched a throw-in from Hamilton's bench into the goal area where Joe Braun redirected the ball with his head but Benson made a basket catch.

Hamilton's best scoring chance of the first half came with 27:04 left. Aidan Wood '20 battled for the ball and sent a forwarding pass through three Tufts defenders to Roth Wetzel '22 for a breakaway attempt. Wetzel blasted a right-footed shot towards the opposite post as Erich Kindermann (4 saves) made a diving save to his right.

The Jumbos got on the scoreboard in the 32nd minute and owned a one-goal halftime lead. Tufts was rewarded a free kick 10 yards out from the top of the box and successfully executed a set play. Travis Van Brewer lined up the ball and glanced towards the left post but instead lofted a head-high ball to the right side of the goal area where Biagio Paoletta popped up out of the crowd and headed the ball into the opposite corner.

In the midst of the second half, Wetzel was taken down inside the penalty box at 50:42. Wood delivered on the penalty kick by beating Kindermann on the left side for the game-tying goal.

Benson kept the score tied in the 55th minute when he punched away a corner kick off the foot of Brett Rojas that was curling into the top half of the goalmouth.

Benson came up big again in the 68th minute when Zachary Trevarrow ripped a shot from seven yards out, but the sophomore keeper deflected the ball away and defender Jack Sheehan '21 swept the rebound out of danger.

Tufts nearly gained back the lead three minutes later when Gavin Tasker lofted a cross from the left corner to the back side of the goal area. Mati Cano headed the ball towards the lower-left corner but Benson made a one-handed save and the defense cleared the rebound.

With the seconds ticking down in the first overtime period, the Jumbos almost stole the victory. Trevarrow headed a corner kick towards the right post but Benson gulped the ball up. The Continentals were held to just two shots during the two overtime periods by Jefri Schmidt '20 and Noah Giovannelli '21, but both sailed wide right of the net.

Hamilton hosts Wesleyan University for a NESCAC match on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 1:30 p.m. for its final home event of the regular season.