On Saturday October 28, the Bates men’s soccer team concluded their season with a 0-3 loss at Tufts University. This was the first time since 2010 that the Bobcats earned a spot in the NESCAC championship tournament.
The Bobcats advanced to postseason play after winning 1-0 against the Colby College Mules on Thursday October 26. With 24 seconds left in the game against the Mules, Beaufils Kimpolo-Pene ’20 from Bronx, NY scored a miraculous goal to solidify a win for Bates.
Josiah Krul ‘21 from Camden, ME cited this play as one of the best moments of the season.
“The game against Colby was wild. When we scored in the last second it was unreal. Everyone was in shock and no one believed it actually happened,” Krul says. “We continuously reminded ourselves throughout the season, ‘no pressure, no diamonds’ because without pressure you can’t make diamonds. I guess it has basically become our team saying. At the time where the pressure was high we pulled through, making it so meaningful and memorable.”
Krul recognized the emotion that advancing to the playoffs brought to the team. He explains, “The playoffs elicited a lot of emotion. It was definitely and especially visible by seniors. It just meant something more to them than anyone else.”
Eventually, the Bobcats could not beat the No. 4 nationally ranked team, the Tufts University Jumbos.
After the defeat on Saturday, the seniors were caught teary-eyed. Krul said he will miss the great leadership they brought to the team next year.
“The seniors embodied what I want in leaders. As a player who dealt with different leadership on multiple teams, these guys encompassed what I deemed as qualities necessary in a good leader,” Krul says. “They were definitely a good mix of different kinds of leaders. They all had contrasting personalities and you could learn something different from each and every one of them. It was top-notch.”
For example, Krul remarked that Max Watson’s ‘18 “pre-game speeches would always get you going.”
Blaise Marceau ‘21, a first-year from Newton, MA agreed with Krul.
“The seniors leadership gave our team and the whole season a lot of structure and discipline, and these things were fundamental to our success as a unit,” Marceau says. “Personally, they gave me a lot of guidance on and off the field and were my role models from the first day of pre- preseason over the summer and will continue to be.”
The Bobcats say goodbye to the following seniors: captain PJ DiBenedetto, captain Max Watson, Justin Yacovino, and Nate Merchant.
Marceau went onto speak directly about the whole team as a unit this year.
“Our team was characterized by grit and ruthless fight which really came out in everyone on the team during our battle against Tufts on Saturday,” he explains. “The model leadership we had was very evident in Saturday’s game, seeing everyone play till the last minute for the guy next to them and their leaders.”
Moving forward, first-years Krul and Marceau are excited to continue furthering their soccer careers. Working alongside their teammates, they are positive that success for Bates College men’s soccer is inevitable.
Krul considers himself lucky as he has “another shot the next year and the next year and the next year to make it all the way.”