Jacob Mergendoller's '11 Early Goal Holds up as Men's Soccer Upends Colby, 1-0
Scoring off an assist from Steve Paresi '12 just 6:40 into the contest, Jacob Mergendoller '11 (#15, photo by Peter Stein '84) scored the game's lone goal as the Cardinals extended their mastery over Colby to 12 straight wins with a 1-0 road victory Sat., Sept. 18. Since dropping the first-ever meeting between the teams back in 1978, Wesleyan has rattled off 12 consecutive victories over Colby behind a substantial 33-6 scoring margin. Eight of the 12 triumphs have come by shutout. Mergendoller finished off a play started by a Paresi free kick into the middle of the box.
The game featured just seven shots on goals between the two sides, five of them by the Cardinals. Wesleyan goalie Adam Purdy '13 needed to stop only two Mule scoring bids to notch his 11th career shutout. The loss was the first for Colby in its three starts this season. Wesleyan won its second straight this year since suffering a tough opening-day, last-minute double-OT loss to Williams.
Wesleyan was right back on the pitch for its third game of the week, hosting Western New England College in a rematch of last year's NCAA tournament second-round matchup in Middletown. The teams played to a pair of ties a year ago, one during the regular season (0-0 at WNEC) and the other in the NCAAs (1-1). The Cardinals advanced past the Golden Bears in the NCAA playoffs with a 5-4 victory in penalty kicks. The teams faced each other for the sixth time since 2006 on Sept. 19 and when WNEC broke a 2-2 tie with just 1:31 remaining for a 3-2 trumph, it evened the series at 2-2-2.
Wesleyan had built a 2-0 lead in the first half before WNEC netted the last three for the win. The Cardinals jumped on the board in the seventh minute after what appeared to be a goal in the third minute was waived off on an offsides call. The opening goal was recorded as an own goal by WNEC. Wesleyan had been awarded a corner kick and sent the ball into traffic in front of the net. A handful of players from both sides converged on the ball, which was inadvertently knocked into the goal by a WNEC defender.
Wesleyan extended its lead to 2-0 in the 14th minute on a header by Rory O'Neill '13. Following a WNEC foul, Paresi sent a free kick in to O'Neill, who was standing directly in front of the net. O'Neill used his height to head the ball over the WNEC goalkeeper.
But the Golden Bears rallied for a pair of first-half goals, the second coming with only 27 second to go before intermission. The teams looked destined for their third straight OT affair but WNEC cashed in on a free kick of its own from 22 yards out as the shot through the Cardinal wall was dipping on its way toward the left side of the net. Purdy got both his hands on the attempt as he dove but it somehow squirted through and trickled into the goal. Purdy had three saves in the contest.
The Cardinals next action took place at Tufts Sat., Sept. 25 in the team's third NESCAC game of the year. Tufts surprised the Cardinals by planting a 1-0 loss on the visitors. It was the 11th consecutive time the teams have played to a result with a differential of two goals or less. Tufts has now won five of the last eight meetings despite Wesleyan overall superiority in the long-standing series with a 42-17-7 record.
The Cardinals generally ruled the play with a 17-6 shot margin but seven saves by the Jumbo netminder stymied the Wesleyan attack. Purdy faced just three shots on goal but one counted for the game-winner in the 20th minute.
Ahead for the team is a non-conference battle with Wheaton Wed., Sept. 29. The game will have both a video webcast and LiveStats available. For the video feed, click < here >. LiveStats can be viewed by clicking < here >.