In honor of Saturday’s David v. Goliath soccer game, here is a Goliath-sized athletics update:

  • The big sports news this week is, of course, men’s soccer going up against D-III Goliath Messiah, national champions in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008, in the Final Four on Friday.  Even in an incredible fall for Eph soccer, the men’s tourney run stands out: they toppled number eighteen RPI, number two York, and number four Christopher Newport in three straight games in by far the toughest quarter of the bracket, all on the road.  Of course, the biggest challenge is yet to come, as Messiah is ranked first and is the prohibitive favorite to take home another national title.  Stay tuned for more information on how to follow the game.
  • The first Director’s Cup standings are out and the Ephs are in second, nipping at the heels of first place Wash U.  Although Wash U. women’s soccer is in the final four, the combined success of the Williams men’s and women’s soccer teams will almost surely push the Ephs to their accustomed position at the top of the rankings at the conclusion of the fall season.  Considering that winter sports look stronger than last year (see below) that bodes well for the Ephs.
  • While last year was a spectacular one for Eph sports in the aggregate, one group of teams had a bit of a collective down year (by Williams’ insanely high standards): winter team sports.  Not so, this year.  Men’s hoops is off to a great 4-0 start, led by All-American candidate Blake Schultz ’10, who is likely to score his 1000th career point on Tuesday vs. Salem State.   The continued maturation of a crowd-pleasing duo, uber-quick Australian point guard James Wang ’12 and athletic big man Troy Whittington ’11 (known for crowd-igniting monster dunks and blocks — see accompanying photo from Sports Information — the likes of which are rarely seen at the NESCAC level), should help Eph hoops to its best season since the 2003-04 final four squads were rocking Chandler gym.  Whittington
  • In addition, women’s and men’s ice hockey, each of whom have benefited from stellar goalie play (for the women reigning NESCAC player of the week Sarah Plunkett ’10 and for the men, the dynamic duo of  Ryan Purdy ’12 and Marc Pulde ’10 ) both appear to be much improved, each undefeated to date at 3-0-1.  The men’s squad in particular has a shot at competing for its first NESCAC title and/or first NCAA bid, thanks to returning all-conference veterans Alex Smigelski ’10 (who scored a hat trick to help upset number four Manhattanville on Sunday) and Justin Troiani ’12 along with several strong newcomers, including D-1 transfer Ben Contini ’11.
  • Women’s basketball, let by sweet-shooting post player Chessie Jackson ’11 and speedy point guard Jill Greenberg ’12, has rebounded from a very rough year to start strong at 3-1.  The Ephs already have two road wins, which is two more than they had all of last season.
  • Williams-Amherst football rivalry gets a shout-out in the L.A. Times.
  • This article notes that Paul Steinig [’14?] “committed” to Williams, where he will play ice hockey.  This article features another prospective interested in athletics, Eva Wilson, who is applying Early Decision to Williams.
  • Check out this great feature which mentions the charity efforts of Eph softball coach Kris Herman, who is involved with the Friends of Jaclyn program.
  • Mike Bajakian ’96 is a finalist for the Broyles Award, which honors the top offensive coordinator in Division I football.  Bajakian’s Central Michigan squad plays Friday for the MAC conference title.
  • Men’s wrestling started off this season strong, and is currently ranked first in New England.  The squad is once again let by All-American Ryan Malo ’11.  Newcomer to watch: frosh Kaison Tanabe.   The wrestling squad is even more impressive academically.
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