Protect This House!

Photo by Duncan Spaulding.

It’s hard to complain about the start of the Camels’ season. From the beginning of preseason through this weekend’s NESCAC showdown with Williams, everything has run pretty smoothly. A win against Bates set them off on the right foot of co-captain Trevor Prophet ’11, a 6-1 dismantling of Johnson & Wales increased their momentum and a 0-0 draw against #4 Williams proved they could battle with the best to remain undefeated.

“Preseason was tough like it always is, but we have a new attitude this year,” said Prophet. “A lot of people are willing to do the work, so it was definitely better than my past three years. In past years, you know, we’ve had players, but some people weren’t always ready to go. This year everyone, regardless of where they were at, was working hard.”

The hard work showed in their first match against Bates. The Camels did not play their best—they probably should have done better than a 1-0 win off of Prophet’s free kick—but they fought hard and defended their home turf. As they say, a win is a win whether it’s pretty or not.

“It was interesting,” Prophet says about the Bates win. “We felt like we didn’t play badly, but we didn’t play like we wanted to play. Defensively we did well—we kept them out of our box for the most part, so besides the PK we weren’t really challenged—but offensively we didn’t keep the ball like we wanted to.”

Improving on their Bates effort, the Camels kept the ball mighty well against Johnson & Wales. They powered home six goals and sent the Wildcats back to the kitchen with their heads hung low. Prophet and Oscar Brown ’12, Conn’s two returning All-NESCAC players from last year, each scored twice, while Nick Maghenzani ’13 and Paul Bacigalupo ’14 added a goal apiece. The Camels outshot the Wildcats 28-8. It was a good old-fashioned Camel beat down.

But the game of the week came on Saturday. Conn faced off against #4 Williams, the team that knocked them out of the NESCAC Tournament last fall, and more than held their own. Although the game ended in a 0-0 draw, the Camels had plenty of opportunities to gain a victory and did well to keep the Ephs out of the net.

Conn has not allowed a NESCAC goal so far this season, with much of their success due to the stellar play of keeper Casey Marini ’14. The freshman was the unsung hero against Williams, coming up with clutch save after clutch save to keep Conn in the game. Although Marini doesn’t have the height of most NESCAC keepers, his athletic ability seems to set him apart and gives him quite an advantage. If he continues to play as well as he has for the remainder of the season, it could mean great things from the program moving forward.

After their first week of play, Conn is sitting pretty at 2-0-1. Whether their success is due to second-year Coach Scott Murphy, co-captains Prophet and Isaac Hancock ’12, or even those freshman mohawks (for the record, Prophet says, “That was all freshmen…I had nothing to do with them,” though he admits he likes the idea behind it: “I’m all for that shit. It’s all bonding.”), the Camels have been playing well.

Conn hosts the Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 PM on The Green, before heading to Amherst for a tough weekend match on Saturday.

Photo by: Duncan Spaulding