Cardinals Press #12-Ranked Amherst to the Limit, but Fall in Little Three Tilt, 4-3, Followed by Setbacks to Trinity & Middlebury
Fresh off their solid effort in downing Little East co-leader UMass Dartmouth two days earlier, the Cardinals headed to Little Three rival Amherst, ranked 12th nationally in Division III, and gave the Lord Jeffs all they could handle before succumbing by a 4-3 score Sat., Oct. 19. Wesleyan forged a 2-1 lead at halftime on goals by Blair Ingraham '14 (#18, photo lower right) and Hannah Plappert '16 (#9, photo upper right), both after penalty corners while goalie Sara Grundy '16 collected seven saves and allowed just one goal, that on a penalty stroke when the Cardinals were called for covering the ball in the goal mouth. Taylor Wells '14 was the inserter for both first-half goals. Ingraham finished off a situation in the middle in the 18th minute after Amherst failed to clear and Vanessa Block '15 centered the ball for a hard blast by Ingraham for her fifth goal of the season, tying her for the team lead. After Amherst tied it in the 30th minute, Plappert netted her fourth of the year with a rocket from the left side high into the goal after a stick-stop by Mackey Hemphill '15 and a pass to the left by Amber Bruckner '14 (#10, left side photo).
But Amherst struck for three quick goals in the opening 11 minutes of the second half as the Lord Jeffs peppered the Cardinal net with six shots on goal during the stretch. Grundy departed with 10 saves and Sarah Prickett '17 played the final 24 minutes with two saves and no goals against. Bruckner made it a three-point game for her when she put home the rebound of a Hemphill shot in the 59th minute but Wesleyan could not come up with the equalizer in the final 11 minutes. The goal was the fifth of the year for Bruckner as she and Ingraham share the team lead.
Amherst ended with a 19-13 edge in total shots and a 12-8 margin on penalty corners while winning its ninth straight game.
Wesleyan was back in action Wed., Oct. 23, visiting Trinity for another NESCAC affair. Shots were at a premium in the contest as Wesleyan managed seven while holding Trinity to just six. But Trinity found the net once in each half to come away a 2-0 victor as Grundy posted a pair of saves in the defense-dominated game.
Wesleyan was at home for its next outing, facing the fourth-ranked team in the nation, Middlebury, Sat., Oct. 26 at noon. Wesleyan jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Bruckner's team-leading sixth goal of the season, redirecting a centering feed by Ingraham into the Panther net in the 23rd minute. But Middlebury evened the coount by converting a rebound during a penalty corner to end the first half and tacked on a pair of goals in the second half for a 3-1 decision. Grundy ended the contest with eight saves.
Wesleyan closes out the regular season Wed., Oct. 30 with a visit to Conn. College to decide the squad's seed in the upcoming NESCAC tournament, which begins Sat., Nov. 2. The Cardinals could be seeded as high as sixth or as low as eighth depending on the outcomes of games involving Colby and Williams on Wednesday.