Wesleyan used a pair of first-half goals and a strong game from goalkeeper Adam Purdy '13 (#30, photo lower left) to earn a 2-1 win over Wheaton, ranked 7th in New England Division III, Wed., Sept. 29. Wesleyan evened its record at 3-3-0 and also evened the all-time series with Wheaton at 4-4-1, while Wheaton lost its third straight and fell to 5-3-2 on the season.
Wesleyan jumped on the board first courtesy of an unassisted goal off the foot of Steve Paresi '12 (#2, photo lower right). Following a Wheaton foul, Wesleyan was awarded a free kick from 20 yards out. Paresi's kick deflected off a defender in the Wheaton wall and bounced in at 12:44, giving him his first goal of the season. He currently stands as Wesleyan's leading scorer with six points (one goal, four assists).
Wesleyan made it 2-0 ten minutes later. Geoff Zartarian '11 (#5, photo upper left) gained possession of the ball 25 yards out and raced into the box, firing home a shot at 22:41 for his first goal of the season. Wheaton outshot Wesleyan 9-8 in the first half, but four saves by Purdy kept the Lyon offense at bay.
Wheaton held a commanding 12-1 edge in shots in the second half but was only able to cash in once. That came at 80:43, breaking up Purdy's shutout bid. Wheaton continued to pile on the shots in the closing minutes and had a great opportunity for the equalizer in the 88th minute, but a shot from the left side hit the far post and ricocheted away.
Purdy tied a career high with seven saves in the Wesleyan net, snuffing out numerous Wheaton scoring chances. The Lyons had a great opportunity in the 56th minute as the Lyons fired a shot from directly in front of the net with Purdy out of position. Purdy just managed to get a piece of the ball, and Wesleyan, which blocked a pair of Wheaton shots in the contest and got solid play defensively much of the contest, especially from wing back Ian Waldron '13 (#4, photo upper right), quickly cleared it out of the box.
The two goals represented Wesleyan's highest scoring output in the nine-game series, as each of Wesleyan's previous three wins came by 1-0 counts. All four of Wheaton's wins also came by a single goal, two by 1-0 scores and two by a 2-1 margin. Wesleyan defeated the Lyons 1-0 in Norton, Mass., in 2009, but Wheaton earned a 2-1 overtime victory in its last visit to Middletown in 2008.
To see three of Purdy's great saves and both Cardinal goals, click < here > for the video.
The Cardinals returned to conference play Sat., Oct. 2 by hosting Trinity College in a NESCAC match-up. Trinity made it three wins in a row for the visitor in the series by taking a 1-0 decision, scoring in the 52nd minute. Wesleyan had won at Trinity in 2009 while Trinity also came through in Middletown in 2008. Interesting, both Wesleyan and Trinity played their seventh straight one-goal game this season. Wesleyan generated a 16-9 edge in total shots. Purdy had two saves whie his Trinity counterpart made four.
Another in-state rival looms ahead for the Cardinals as they travel to Coast Guard for their next contest Tues., Oct. 5.
(Photos courtesy of Peter Stein '84)