Men’s Soccer: Norwich and Middlebury Battle to Scoreless Draw

Courtesy Norwich and Middlebury Sports Information

MIDDLEBURY – The Norwich University men’s soccer team picked up a huge 0-0 scoreless draw vs. Middlebury College on Tuesday afternoon in non-conference action at South Street Field.

Norwich (1-0-2) remained unbeaten on the season and picked up its first non-loss vs. Middlebury (0-0-1) since 2005 with the tie. The Cadets are 3-52-5 all-time vs. Middlebury in the 60 all-time meetings between the two schools. Prior to Tuesday, Middlebury has outscored Norwich 35-5 in the previous 12 meetings.

Senior goalkeeper Brendan Germano (Monroe Township, N.J.) was brilliant in goal, stopping all five shots he faced under constant Middlebury pressure through the second half and all of overtime. Germano also had the help of two hit posts by Middlebury to keep the clean sheet. The shutout was Germano’s eighth of his career and second of the season.

In a first half that saw few scoring opportunities for both sides, Middlebury’s best attempt came in the 33nd minute. Drew Goulart gathered a loose ball just inside the box and lofted a shot toward the upper-right corner from 15 yards that was saved by Germano. In the final seconds, a Middlebury corner-kick attempt was punched away by the Cadet goalie, sending the match into a scoreless tie at the halftime break.
In the second half, the Panthers held an 8-1 advantage in shot attempts, with their best chances coming in the latter minutes of the stanza. A bending shot by Fazl Shaikh from 18 yards out was saved by Germano on a diving stop to his left in the 81st minute. Nearly six minutes later, a cross from the left into the box was tipped off the far post by Daniel O’Grady, as the match headed into extra time.

The first overtime session saw the Panthers have two quality scoring opportunities. In the 106th minute, a header by Michael McFarlane hit the crossbar and went straight down before being cleared away. Nearly a minute later, a volley toward the right post by Shams Mohajerani was stopped on a diving save by Germano. The second overtime saw neither team have any scoring chances in the scoreless draw.
Middlebury outshot Norwich 20-2, including 8-1 in the 20-minute overtime sessions. Freshman Alex Brannan (Oneonta, N.Y.) and sophomore Nick Tantillo (Tolland, Conn.) each had a shot for Norwich.

Norwich returns home to face Maine Maritime and SUNY Maritime on Friday and Sunday respectively in two more non-conference games. The Cadets will face Maine Maritime at 4 p.m. on Fridaqy and then they will take on SUNY Maritime at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Panthers (0-0-1) begin NESCAC play on Saturday when they travel to Connecticut College at 2:00 p.m