Wesleyan lists just two foreigners on its unbeaten and nationally ranked men's soccer team in 2009 and each contributed a goal in the Cardinals' 2-0 blanking of NESCAC rival Bates Sat., Oct. 17.
With a first-half tally by leading scorer Keisuke Yamashita '10 (#9, photo lower right), a native of Japan, and a second-half insurance marker by Noah Schlesinger '13 (#28, photo insert lower left), who hails from England, Wesleyan also got a three-save effort from keeper Adam Purdy '13 #30, photo insert top middle) in securing the shutout.
Yamashita, who was honored by the NESCAC with its Player of the Week award, picked up his second game-winner of the year with his fourth goal of the season in the game's seventh minute vs. Bates and went on to assist on the first career goal by Schlesinger in the 85th minute. Both teams had a few other good scoring chances but were ether robbed by a strong goaltending move or just narrowly missed the net, including a shot midway through the second half by Bates that Purdy fisted out of harm's way.
Wesleyan, ranked sixth nationally in Division III, and first among New England Division III squads, went on to tie the school mark for best-ever start after visiting Middlebury for another tough NESCAC matchup Sun., Oct. 18. A 2-0 victory over the Panthers, courtesy of goals by Austin Woolridge '11 with the assist to Yamashita in the game's fifth minute and a good hustle tally by Schlesinger in the 88th minute, gave Wesleyan a 9-0-3 overall record, matching that of the 2006 squad, the only other Cardinal men's soccer team to go 12 games without a defeat. Yamashita now has four goals and four assists for 12 points to pace the Cardinals.
The squad set a record for the most ever shutouts posted in the opening 12 games of a season with its eighth while also tying the all-time seasonal shutout mark set by the 12-2 squad of 1980 which shut out eight of its 14 opponents. Purdy has seven of the eight shutouts, having made three saves at Middlebury. He holds a stellar 0.40 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
Wesleyan goes for a share of the Little Three crown in its next outing, that coming at Amherst Sat., Oct. 24. A win will give the Cardinals a piece of the title with Williams, which already owns a 2-1 victory over Amherst along with a 1-1 tie vs. Wesleyan.
(photos courtesy of Peter Stein '84)