WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — It ended in a loss, but Thomas showed it could play right with one of the best Division III men’s college soccer teams in the country.

In a Division III NCAA Tournament first-round game, Thomas tied the score on a second-half goal by Michael Hand, but Williams scored barely five minutes later and held on for a 2-1 victory.

Thomas, which won the North Atlantic Conference championship for the second time in three years, finishes at 15-3-2. Williams, ranked No. 9 in the latest national poll, is now 14-1-3. The Ephs will host St. Lawrence at 1:30 p.m., today.

Mohammed Rashid gave Williams a 1-0 lead with 27:56 left in the first half when he sent home a running header off a pass from Patrick Ebobisse.

The Terriers came back to tie the score 8:49 into the second half. Joshua Phelps controlled the ball on a rush, then dropped a pass to Hand, who deposited a shot into the lower left corner of the net.

After Hand tied the score, Williams had the next 12 shots, making the final shot tally appear lopsided at 26-9. Two minutes after Hand’s goal, Thomas keeper Mikkail Crockwell dove to stop a shot by Ebobisse, but Williams threatened again three minutes later. Rashid hit Ebobisse with a pass, and Ebobisse put in a shot that Crockwell tipped but couldn’t stop with 30:51 left.

Crockwell kept Thomas within a goal by coming up with spectacular saves to deny Rashid, Ebobisse, and Chris Seitz in a span of 10 minutes. Khamisi Lightbourne had the only shot for Thomas over the final 35 minutes. Lightbourne’s long-distance boomer ended up going over the crossbar with about three minutes left.

Hand’s goal was his team-leading 12th of the season in 13 games. Crockwell made 10 saves for Thomas and finishes the year with a .890 save percentage.


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