Experienced Cardinals Hoping to Put Lessons of 2010 to Good Use as 2011 Campaign Unfolds
The 2010 men's soccer season at Wesleyan featured a remarkable characteristic. An 8-8 record was composed of 15 one-goal games, including all 11 contests vs. NESCAC rivals. Thus, the Cardinals learned to play under pressure with the score tied, trying to preserve a tenuous advantage or fighting to come up with the equalizer. The NESCAC tournament pitted Wesleyan, seeded seventh, against #2 Williams in a first-round matchup and the Cardinals picked up their second-ever NESCAC tournament victory over their Little Three rival, 2-1. Wesleyan then held a 1-0 lead on Bowdoin for 30 minutes before falling to the top-seeded Polar Bears, who went on to reach the NCAA Division III Final Four. Coincidentally, the Cardinals will inaugurate the 2011 season Sat., Sept. 10 by hosting Bowdoin in a game slated for a webcast. The game can be watched by clicking < here > at game time (2:30 p.m.).
"I think this year's squad will be a great mix of veterans and young players" said Head Coach Geoff Wheeler. "After 15 one-goal games in 2010, this year's squad is eager to put painful lessons to good use in the upcoming campaign. Co-captains Zach Dixon '12 (#9, right side in photo) and Harrison Lewin '12 (#14, left side in photo) have done a great job leading up to the season with a renewed sense of commitment that has been contagious amongst the squad."
Fifteen lettermen are back to put their talents to the test, eight of them consistent starters in 2010, while three other started at least three games. Every Cardinal who scored multiple goals a year ago returns, led by Steve Paresi '12, who netted a pair of goals and set up eight others. Second-team all-NESCAC honoree Walter Rodriguez '13 paced the team in goals with four, including the OT winner in the regular-season finale vs. Conn. College that propelled Wesleyan into the playoffs. A loss or tie in that game would have left Wesleyan behind at playoff time. Evan Hazelett '13 had three goals and two helpers while Dixon, Rory O'Neill '13 and Noah Schlesinger '13 each had a pair of tallies.
Adam Purdy '13, who had a standout 2009 campaign while earning NSCAA All-America honors, is a two-year starter in goal and logged a sound 1.17 GAA and .774 save percentage in 2010. Lewin will anchor the defense around Purdy with major assistance from Pat Moriarty '14. Ian Waldron '13, Mike McCarthy '14, Chris Kuehn '13 and Cabell Maddux '13 add significant previous playing time to the team's depth at various positions.
Newcomers will make a solid impact on the Cardinals' fortunes in 2011 with 10 freshmen and a capable transfer from NESCAC rival Tufts, Sam Atwood '14, on board for the preseason. It is this combination of veteran and first-year Cardinals which has Coach Wheeler eagerly anticipating the start of the 2011 campaign.
(photo courtesy of Peter Stein '84)