Cards Falter in Closing Seconds of OT to Come Up Shy of Williams in Opener, 2-1
cored on a chest-high shot from 15 yards out that deflected off a Wesleyan defender with just :06.7 remaining in the second overtime to make the visiting Ephs a 2-1 victor over their NESCAC and Little Three rival Cardinals Sat., Sept. 11. Wesleyan returns to action Wed., Sept 15 with a visit to Springfield.
In a battle of regionally and nationally ranked competitors, Williams, which holds the #5 spot in Division III and #1 in New England, improved its recent success vs. Wesleyan to 20-1-1 in the last 22 meetings by scoring the golden goal shortly after a final corner kick. Williams got the ball into the middle for a shot on goal. Cardinal goalie Adam Purdy '13 was in position but the ball deflected off a Wesleyan defender and Purdy was unable to react to the change in direction as the ball shot past him to his left. Wesleyan, ranked second in New England and #13 nationally, was playing a man down due to an ejection with 1:55 left in the second overtime.
The Cardinals had tied the game with 10:42 remaining in regulation as Austin Woolridge '11 (#7, main photo) received a pass from Zach Dixon '12 (#9, photo insert upper right) and fired home a shot from 20 yards just inside the right post. Dixon had made a clean tackle in Williams territory to gain possession of the ball. Williams took a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute when a centering pass from the left side found an open Eph at the top of the box for a one-timer toward the Wesleyan net which just eluded a diving Purdy and stayed inside the right post. Last year's matchup in Williamstown had a similar complexion as Wesleyan came back for a 1-1 deadlock and the teams played without scoring through 20 minutes of overtime. That's where play deviated in Middletown this season with the Ephs prevailing.
Purdy and his Williams counterpart both made some tremendous saves in the game as Purdy collected seven on the day while Williams also totalled seven, including a team save. Five of Purdy’s stops came in overtime. Chris Keuhn '13 had one of the Cardinals' best scoring chances of the first half as he was set up point-blank in the final seconds of the opening period, only to be snake-bitten by a stellar stop from the Eph netminder. It was one of 20 shots by the Cardinals in the contest to 16 by the Ephs. Wesleyan took a 19-9 edge in shots into overtime but Williams produced nine of the 10 shots during the extra frames.
(photos provided by Peter Stein '84)