New London — As the season opener progressed Saturday, the Connecticut College men's soccer team began to consistently connect the dots.
The Camels dominated possession with a short passing game, drawing up a dangerous attack.
They just couldn't complete the picture, resulting in a scoreless double overtime draw with Colby College in New England Small College Athletic Conference action.
"We were the better team," Conn coach Kenny Murphy said. "It's just unfortunate that we didn't take (advantage of) our chances. ... But I'm proud of the guys. I thought their effort was fantastic."
The Camels held a 17-4 edge in shots. They played with tremendous energy but just lacked a scorer's touch in the finishing area.
With help from a rebuilt defense, junior goalie Casey Marini posted a shutout, making just two saves.
"I wouldn't say we're disappointed," Marini said. "I would say they frustrated us a little bit."
The program is headed in the right direction with Murphy, who's in his fourth year, in charge. He's posted winning seasons in two of the last three years, including going 9-5-1 overall last season.
Before Murphy arrived in 2009, the Camels had suffered through a drought of 11 straight losing seasons.
"We're definitely moving forward," Murphy said.
Murphy engineered a turnaround by recruiting players from high level programs and instilling a winning mentality.
"The most important thing is creating a culture," Marini said. "There's an emphasis on doing things professionally every day. We set very high team goals. ... And we hold each other accountable."
Their ultimate goal is to finish in the top four of the NESCAC and be in the running for an NCAA tournament bid.
That's not an easy task considering the top-notch competition.
On Saturday, the Camels lost an opportunity to gain a valuable win. Too many shots were either off target or stopped by a quick reacting defense.
A few dangerous chances stood out.
Off a first-half corner kick, junior Randy Pearce sent a strong header toward the far post but an alert defender was there to clear the shot. Then goalie Cody Funkhouser saved freshman Colin Patch's rebound attempt.
With about 20 minutes left in the second half, junior Kevin Burt, junior Billy Hawkey and sophomore Mike Flippin all had quality chances turned away.
Marini made one big save to keep Colby scoreless, charging out to knock down Matt Giron's shot off a breakaway late in the first half.
"At the end of the day, we'll take a shutout and draw," Marini said. "We have to move on.We play again on Wednesday."
Conn visits Coast Guard in the annual Whale Cup on Wednesday night.