With Six Cardinals Earning All-NESCAC Honors, Team Beats St. Joe's in NCAA 1st Round, 2-0
Winning an NCAA Division III tournament first-round game for the third time in three appearances, Wesleyan downed visiting St. Joseph's (Me.) Sat., Nov 14, 2-0. The Cardinals advance to the second round Sun., Nov. 15 against Western New England, a 1-0 victor over Babson in its first-round matchup. The game will be played on Smith Field (artificial surface) will be webcast and details for watching are on the athletics home page under "Webcasts."
Chris Kuehn '13 got credit for the game-winner vs. St. Joe's, knocking in a ball from the left side after being set up by Ian Waldron '13 in the 32nd minute. It was the first career goal for Kuehn. Midway through the second half, two recently crowned first-team all-NESCAC honorees combined for an insurance goal as Nick Whipple '10 (#11, main photo lower left) got his third of the season off a feed from Woody Redpath '10 (#21, photo insert lower right) in the 72nd minute. Goalie Adam Purdy '13 (#30, photo insert upper left), also a NESCAC first-teamer as well as NESCAC Rookie of the Year, collected four saves in the contest for his 10th shutout of the season, advancing Wesleyan's school record to 12. Purdy leads the NESCAC in save percentage (,914) and goal-against average (0.40), both of which currently rank among the top-five nationally in Division III.
After opening the year with a 15-game unbeaten streak and capturing a NESCAC regular-season title, Wesleyan equaled the most-ever all-NESCAC selections by a single college with three first-team picks and three second-team picks in 2009. Middlebury has six all-NESCAC honorees in 2008. In addition, Wesleyan 11-year mentor Geoff Wheeler (photo insert upper right) was honored for the second time in the last five seasons with the NESCAC Coach of the Year award.
Whipple has been a starter since he arrived in Middletown in 2006 and has three goals and three assists this season. Playing in all possible 64 games with 61 starts over four seasons thus far, Whipple has amassed eight goals and 10 assists for 26 career points.
Redpath worked his way up to a starting roll in 2008 after playing just 14 of 32 games his first two years. Last year he played all 15 contests with 13 starts and logged an assist. This year, he has started all 17 contests as a defensive middie and got his first point of the season vs. St. Joe's. He also is a high-powered forward on the men's ice hockey team during the winter.
Making the second team for Wesleyan were forwards Asante Brooks '10 and Keisuke Yamashita '10 along with defender Jacob Mergendoller '11. Both Yamashita and Brooks have been starters for three seasons with Brooks moving from a defensive spot to the attack in 2008. He has responded with four goals and four assists over the last two seasons with three of each coming this year, ranking second on the team in scoring. Yamashita, who paces the Cardinals with four goals and four assists for 12 points in 2009, has 12 career goals along with four assists for 28 points. His hat trick in a span of just 3:30 vs. Springfield in 2008 is one of the fastest three-goal burst by a player in NCAA Division III history. Mergendoller has moved into the starting lineup on a regular basis for the first time in 2009 after playing in 11 games with seven starts a year ago. He also has one goal to his credit this season and it was a big one as it tied the team's opening game at Williams in the 77th minute to help the team forge an overtime tie.
Coach Wheeler, who received his first NESCAC Coach of the Year honor when he led the Cardinals to a NESCAC Tournament title in 2005 and the team's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, has guided the squad to seven winning seasons out of 11, three NCAA tournament spots and a cumulative record of 95-63-16 after the first-round NCAA game this year.
(Action photos courtesy of Peter Stein '84)