The 2010 Wesleyan men’s soccer team returns 23 players after an historic 2009 campaign. The ’09 squad posted an undefeated regular season (10-0-4) while establishing a school record for longest unbeaten streak (15 games). While a NESCAC tournament title eluded the top-seeded Cardinals, Wesleyan earned its third trip to the NCAAs in the last five years and advanced to the round of 16. The team posted a final record of 12-2-5.
Although the team graduated seven seniors, including six starters, there is a talented group returning that will be bolstered by six incoming recruits and a junior transfer. Tri-Captains Jacob Mergendoller ’11 (#15, photo left side), Geoff Zartarian ’11 (#5, photo upper right), and Tim Dodds ’11 (photo lower right) will provide a core of seasoned veterans with outstanding leadership. The pieces are in place for another exciting season and much of it will come down to how the team gels as a unit and handles any setbacks along the way.
Returning All-America net minder Adam Purdy ’13 and second-team all-NESCAC performer Mergendoller will anchor the defense. The graduation of academic All-American Jory Kahan ’10 and Mark Murphy ’10 will open opportunities for younger players to join the back four. Eric Mandell ’11 and Cabell Maddux ’13 will bolster the middle of the defense and newcomers will battle for time in the flank areas. The midfield was hit by the graduation of two extraordinary seniors, Nick Whipple ’10 (all-NESCAC and all-New-England) and Woody Redpath (All-American, all-NESCAC and all-New England). Fortunately, talented wide players Zartarian and Austin Woolridge ’11 return and will be joined by Rory O’Neill ’13, Will Mithoefer ’11, Ian Waldron ’13, and Zach Dixon ’12 as the midfield will continue to be a point of depth in the Cardinal squad. Other players to watch in the midfield include upperclassmen Jacob Levkowicz ’12 and Billy Walen ’12. Providing the scoring punch will be Noah Schlesinger ’13 (four goals in ‘09) and Walter Rodriguez ’13 (two goals in ‘09), stepping into the void left by the departure of second-team all-NESCAC Asante Brooks ’10 (three goals in ’09) and Keisuke Yamashita ’10 (five goals in ’09). They will have plenty of support with the likes of Reuben Johnson ’11 providing size and determination and a speedy Evan Hazelett ’13 looking to add a spark. Chris Kuehn ’13, who had the game-winner in the Cardinals’ 2-0 NCAA home victory over St. Joe’s (Me.) will look to continue his form up front as well.
The team will have to come together quickly as it faces Little Three rival Williams on Sat., September 11 in its season and home opener. Williams claimed the NESCAC tournament title in 2009 at Wesleyan, its sixth conference crown in the 10-year tournament history. Williams advanced to the NCAA tournament semi-finals, losing to eventual national champion Messiah, 2-1.
(action photos courtesy of Peter Stein '84)