Men's Soccer, Now Ranked 10th Nationally, Continues Unbeaten Ways with First Regular-Season Win over Williams Since 1992, Then Win at Hamilton as Adam Purdy '13 Named NESCAC & ECAC POW
Rory O'Neill '13 (heading ball, photo lower left) scored in the 109th minute to lead Wesleyan past Williams, 2-1, in a pivotal NESCAC matchup Sat, Sept. 24 in Middletown. Wesleyan improved to 4-0-1 overall and 4-0 in NESCAC play with its first regular-season win against Williams since 1992, while the Ephs, ranked 11th nationally in Division III, suffered their first loss (2-1-1, 2-1-1 NESCAC). When the Cardinals conquered Hamilton, 2-0, on the road Sun., Sept. 25, Wesleyan secured its third unbeaten mark (5-0-1) through six games in the last six seasons as the 2009 squad started 4-0-2 and the 2006 team was a perfect 6-0-0. The Cardinals are now ranked 10th nationally in Division III and second in New England by the NSCAA. Goalie Adam Purdy '13 (#30, main photo) was named NESCAC Player of the Week and ECAC New England Division III Defensive Player of the Week with his 14 saves and one goal allowed over three Cardinal NESCAC victories during the week.
With just over two minutes remaining in the second overtime period, Harrison Lewin '12 sent a long throw to Evan Hazelett '13 (#6, photo insert left side), who was standing at the far post. Hazelett crossed the ball to O'Neill at the left post, and O'Neill muscled it in at 108:07 for his team-leading third goal of the season.
Hazelett had given Wesleyan the lead just 2:06 into the game, scoring on the first shot of the contest. Noah Schlesinger '13 crossed the ball to Hazelett, who was standing in the middle of the box. Hazelett beat the Williams keeper with a hard shot for his second goal of the year.
Williams tied the game in the 80th minute following a long throw that set up a loose ball situation in front, and eventual header that evened the game.
Williams held a commanding 17-5 edge in shots in regulation, but only six of the 17 shots went on net. The Ephs had several dangerous opportunities but could not cash in, sending several shots just wide and being stymied multiple times by Purdy, who finished the game with six stops, including five in regulation.
Entering the game, Williams had been 17-0-1 in the last 18 regular-season meetings between the teams, dating to the last Wesleyan victory in 1992. Wesleyan did have a pair of postseason wins against the Ephs in that span, earning a 1-0 win in Williamstown in the 2005 NESCAC Championship and taking a 2-1 overtime victory at Williams in the 2010 NESCAC tournament last October, the teams' most recent meeting. Wesleyan last defeated Williams at home in the championship game of the 1991 ECAC tournament.
Today's game marked the fourth consecutive overtime contest between the two sides, with Wesleyan holding a 2-1-1 edge in the four matches. Williams took a 2-1 double-overtime victory in Middletown in the teams' 2010 season opener with a 110th-minute goal, and the teams battled to a 1-1 draw in Williamstown to inaugurate the 2009 season.
Wesleyan was right back on the pitch as the Cardinals traveled to Hamilton for the first-ever regular-season NESCAC round-robin matchup with the Continentals. A goal on a smart header from Pat Moriarty '14 after a well-placed corner kick by Steve Paresi '12 put Wesleyan ahead for good in the 12th minute. Brock Barritt '14 put home his first career goal in the 67th minute by lofting a shot into the net after chasing down a loose ball on the left. With his three saves, Purdy recorded his fourth shutout of the year and 17th of his career. His next shutout will give him the Wesleyan career record.
The next start for the team comes Sat., Oct. 1 when Wesleyan visits Middlebury for another big NESCAC meeting. Wesleyan sits in first place with its 5-0 conference mark. The squad will be at home Sun., Oct. 2 in another back-to-back NESCAC weekend, hosting Colby in a game slated for a webcast. The game can be watched by clicking < here >.
(photos by Peter Stein '84)