NORTON, MA- The nationally-ranked Wheaton College men's soccer team struck first before giving way to a pair of Williams College goals on Sunday afternoon, as the Lyons fell to the regionally-ranked Ephs by a 2-1 count in non-conference action on Keefe Field.
Wheaton, which had been unbeaten through eight games and ranked 19th nationally and third in New England by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), fell to 7-1-1, while the Ephs, who are ranked eighth regionally, stayed unbeaten at 3-0-1.
Junior back David Ferriero (Medway, MA/Medway) scored the hosts' lone tally not even six minutes into play, while classmate Cole Davidson (Needham, MA/Salisbury School) made three key saves in net for the Lyons, who were outshot by a 13-9 margin. Williams also held a 6-5 edge in corner kicks.
Eph senior Pierre Meloty-Kapella (Redwood City, CA) picked up the game-winner in the 76th minute on an unlikely assist from senior goalie Andrew Graham (Northbrook, IL). Junior Charles Romero (Mansfield, MA) assisted senior Will Whiston (Rye, NY) for the tying marker 2:46 into the second half. Graham finished with two stops.
The play leading up to Wheaton's goal began at the right side of the field with junior Kyle Sye (Acton, MA/Acton-Boxboro Regional), whose cross found classmate Yuri Moreira (Marlboro, MA/Northfield Mount Hermon School) in the middle of the box. Moreira's header deflected off an Eph and to a waiting Ferriero, who one-timed his shot past Graham.
With 12:20 to play in the opening half, Williams junior Joe Vella (Manlius, NY) nearly knotted the score, but his bending shot toward the upper right corner of the net from just outside the box was punched away by Davidson in keeping the Ephs off the board.
Early in the second stanza and deep in the Wheaton zone, Romero flicked a ball from in front of the left post and over the Lyon defense to Whiston for the finish. After Davidson made another huge stop with just over 30 minutes to go, Graham matched the Lyon keeper with a nice save off a hard shot from junior Josh Solomon (Acton, MA/Acton Boxboro Regional).
Graham's kick with less than 15 minutes remaining managed to bounce past the Wheaton defense and to a free Meloty-Kapella, who used a touch to his right to beat Davidson and find the bottom right corner of the net with 14:25 left. Meloty-Kapella nearly made it 3-1 in the 81st minute as another Graham boot got by the Lyon defense, but Davidson challenged the Eph forward and took away the angle, thus preventing a shot attempt.
The Lyons look to get back to their winning ways with Wednesday's non-conference game at Eastern Nazarene College at 3:30 p.m.