WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — An overtime goal from Michael Madding capped a comeback that spurred Williams past St. Lawrence 2-1 and into the Round of 16 of the NCAA tournament. The Ephs picked up their 15th win of the year and improved to 15-1-3, while the Saints finished their season with a 14-3-3 spread.
After needing almost all of regulation to find an equalizer against Eastern Connecticut on Saturday, the Saints came out flying and scored before the Ephs could complete a pass.
St. Lawrence took the opening kick and swung the ball around its back line before Jermiah Bunton sent a though ball for Jamal Samaroo, who snuck in behind the Eph backline and met the pass in stride. Samaroo fired a ball past Eph keeper Than Finan that skimmed the right post before sailing into the back of the net with just 29 seconds elapsed.
The Ephs responded with a bout of strong play and managed a slight edge in possession for most of the half. They nearly tied it in the 12th minute when User Kushaina beat two Saints down the left wing and crossed into the box for Madding. Madding directed a floating shot towards the crossbar, but Saint goalie Nate Goss-Woliner managed to tip the ball over the bar for a Saints corner.
That was the last shot on goal either team would record for the next 50 minutes.
The Ephs broke through in the 63rd minute when Andres Burbank-Crump found Matt Ratajczak in the box with a free kick. Ratajczak turned and fired a shot on net, but Goss-Woliner read the play and cut down the angle to make the save.
Eight minutes later, the Saints came close to doubling their advantage. Brian Gilloran laid a pass for Shaka Pilgrim, who crossed in at the 18 for Samaroo. Samaroo’s shot eluded Finan and bounced off the post and into the six yard box. Gilloran could not strike the rebound cleanly, and the play ended with a goal kick.
With just under 10 minutes to play, the Ephs created an equalizer. Mohammed Rashid got things started with a header down to Matt Kastner, who then gave it back to Rashid on the left flank. Rashid sent the ball past Goss-Woliner just inside the far post.
The Saints responded and carried play for the remainder of regulation but generated few scoring chances.
In overtime, Ratajczak rushed up the field past multiple Saints defenders. As he neared the touchline, Ratajczak sent an arcing cross towards the net that Goss-Woliner punched straight at Madding, who launched a shot that hit the bar and bounced into the goal with 41 seconds remaining in the period.
The Ephs will now play either Brandeis or Vassar in the Round of 16.