WESTFIELD, MASS. -- Westfield State's Shane Cervone (West Springfield, Mass.) scored in the 58th minute to tie the game and junior goalkeeper Nick Chambers (Southwick, Mass.) made 10 saves in goal as Westfield State battled to a 1-1 draw against national powerhouse Williams College in a non-conference men's soccer match at Alumni Field on Tuesday afternoon.
After a scoreless first half, Williams got on the scoreboard first when Will Fellitto(Winnetka, Ill.) headed home a long serve from Nick Ranieri (Natick, Mass./Noble and Greenough)
The Owls leveled the game at 1-1 when Joey Paier (West Springfield, Mass.) attacked from the right side, beating his defender,then sent a stellar diagonal ball that Williams goalkeeper Teddy Rader (Chappaqua, NY/Horace Greeley) had to come off his line to contest, and Cervone ran on to the ball, beating Rader by a half step to pop it into the back of the net.
"Joey Paier is like an atomic particle, flying around the system and making crazy things happen," said Westfield State head coach John Evans. "And Shane makes terrific slashing runs and his tenacity creates havoc in front of the goal and is what made that goal happen."
Williams generated several strong second half chances, including a strong header from Demian Gass (Houston, Tex./Kinkaid School) at the top of the goalkeeper box in the 77th minute, but Chambers, who was well positioned all day made the save. The Ephs got another good chance when Nathan Song fired a shot that whistled just high off of a bouncing ball in the box about three minutes later.
Westfield got a tremendous scoring chance in the final minute of regulation as Paul Soucy's (Acushnet, Mass./Old Colony) shot deflected off a defender, looped high and Rader was forced to make a backpedaling save deflecting the shot off the crossbar.
In the first overtime, Williams peppered the Owls back four with shots, but the quartet stood the test, blocking several shots and clearing the ball on several more occasions. The Owls withstood four Williams corner kicks in the first OT.
"Our backs were playing a very sold, compact back line which was very difficult to penetrate, which i was thrilled about," said Evans. "Its unique to playing teams like Williams where you'll drop into a harsh defensive stance. But it worked."
In the second overtime, both teams showed signs of wear. Westfield got a long throw in opportunity in the final minute that was headed away by an Ephs defender, and then the Owls launched long shots from Jabari Smith (Enfield, Conn./Fermi) and Cervone which did not seriously threaten Rader as time expired.
Westfield is now 3-8-1 on the season.
"We had a game plan and we executed it for 110 minutes and the results speaks for itself," said Evans. "Work rate from the team today was phenomenal. They stayed organized, communicated with each other, held their positions, and more and more they are playing for each other, and when they are playing for the guy next to them it makes all the difference in the world."
Williams slips to 4-3-4. The Ephs have been a nationally significant program for more than two decades. They won the national title in 1995, and have played in the NCAA Division III Final four three times in the last 10 years.
The Ephs outshot the Owls 32-6 in the match and had an 11-6 margin in shots on goal. Williams also generated 16 corner kicks to zero for Westfield.
Chambers, who made a rare spot start for the Owls finished with 10 saves.
"Great positioning, great outing in the goal," said Evans. "He hasn't had a chance to play much, but he showed up big time today and stood the test. It was wonderful to see."
Rader finished with five saves for Williams.
Williams dominated possession in the first half, and while outshooting the Owls 9-0, did not generate grade A scoring chances, as Chambers stopped all three shots on Goal.
The Owls will next travel to MCLA on Friday at 6:00 p.m. for a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference matchup.