Getting a pair of TD passes in the second quarter from Jesse Warren '15 (#2, photo lower left), one of 66 yards to Jay Fabien '15 (#80, photo upper left) on a great catch-and-run at 14:04 of the period, and the other of 16-yards to Jon Day '15, who also broke a tackle on his way to the endzone, Wesleyan went on for a 22-14 win at Middlebury Sat., Sept. 20. It was the season opener for both squads. Day's TD came at 9:17, capping a 51-yard, eight-play drive. Fabien's reception was the only play of the scoring drive as Warren lofted a perfect pass about 40 yards down the left side that Fabien caught in stride, then shook a would-be tackler to put Wesleyan ahead, 7-0. Day caught his pass around the 10, broke a tackle and dove for the pylon, putting the Cardinals ahead for good, 13-7.
Matt Lynch '15 (#9, main photo) followed up a shot by Hans Erickson '16 (#15, photo insert upper left) that was saved by the Bates keeper in the 67th minute and fired the rebound into the back of the net to lift the Cardinals past homestanding Bates, 2-1, Sat., Sept. 20. Earlier in the contest, Erickson set Brandon Sousa '16 up for the tying goal in the 18th minute as Sousa's high shot from the left side found the mark. Bates had opened the scoring in the first minute, turning a free kick into a goal with two extra touches. Cardinal keeper Emmett McConnell '15 kept the Bobcats at bay the final 89:27 of the contest to secure the win as he posted one save.
In an evenly played game Sat., Sept. 20 at Bates, the Cardinals made the most of their good scoring chances to put three balls in the net to capture an important 3-0 NESCAC victory. Vanessa Block '15 (#3, right side photo) gave Wesleyan the only goal it would need in the 31st minute, firing a insertion from Lauren Yue '07 on a penalty corner off a Bobcat defender and into the goal for a 1-0 lead. That held up through halftime and well into the second half until Mackey Hemphill '15 gave Wesleyan an insurance goal in the 57th minute, scoring off a rebound for the 2-0 edge
Pulling out to a solid margin over the rest of the field in the opening four minutes of the race, Caroline Elmendorf '17 (photo) cruised to first place at the Wesleyan Invitational Fri., Sept. 19 to begin the season. Her margin of victory over second-place classmate Christina Hebner '17 was almost 42 seconds as she covered the three-mile course in 18:58.79. Rounding out the Cardinals' scoring five, as they swept past visiting Mitchell for a 15-50 victory, was Rachel Unger '15 in third, Morgan Findley '18 in fourth and Joie Akerson '17 in fifth. All eight Cardinal harriers hit the tape ahead of the top Mitchell finisher. Elmendorf trimmed 50 seconds off her time from a year ago in the same event while Unger ran 22 seconds faster. Akerson was a full 1:20 ahead of her pace from the previous year.
With all eight Cardinal runners hitting the finish line ahead of the top finisher for visiting Mitchell Fri., Sept. 19, Wesleyan swept past its visitor by a 15-50 count to begin the 2014 season. The quarter of Evan Bieder '15 (second from left in photo), Taylor Titcomb '16 (far left in photo), Keith Conway '16 (second from right in photo) and Eric Arsenault '17 (far right in photo) finished one, two, three and four within a 14-second gap. Bieder's winning time was a crisp 20:57.33, and average of just under 5:15 a mile. Titcomb was half a second behind, also under 5:15 a mile.
Trailing 2-0 after dropping the first two sets, 25-18 and 25-19, at Eastern Connecticut Wed., Sept. 17, the Cardinals mounted a furious comeback to take the third set, 25-18, and the fourth, 25-19, before wrapping up a 3-2 triumph with a 15-12 win in the fifth set. It was the third time this year Wesleyan has captured a dramatic five-set decision. Now 6-1 on the year, the Cardinals have matched the start of the 2007 squad for the best beginning in the last seven campaigns. Wesleyan had a tough task in its next match as the initial NESCAC/Little Three match of the year took place Fri., Sept. 19 at home against defending NESCAC champ Williams. The Ephs downed the Cardinals in three well-played sets, 3-0. After that was another NESCAC/Little Three affair with Amherst Sat., Sept. 20, with the same results as the previous day, a hard-fought 2-0 setback.
Drawing first blood in the 48th minute when Hannah Stone '15 (#17, main photo) buried a 24-yard shot from the middle into the upper right side of the net off a square pass from Meghan Cunningham '18, Wesleyan had a short-lived 1-0 lead over 21st-ranked nationally Tufts Tues., Sept. 16. Just two minutes later, a cross by the Jumbos was misplayed by the Cardinal defense and an errant attempt to clear the ball ended up in the Wesleyan net for an own-goal. Neither team score over the final 60 minutes of the game though Tufts put one off the crossbar as the final horn in regulation was sounding and Wesleyan had an apparent winning goal in the second overtime called back on an offside call.
Making four saves over 110 minutes in net, and aided by a valuable team save from Ben Bratt '15, Emmett McConnell '15 (#30, photo) picked up his third shutout in four starts this year while pushing his current streak of scoreless minutes to 257:36 in a 0-0 overtime deadlock at Wheaton Sat., Sept. 13. Wheaton entered the game ranked 30th in Division III in the latest NSCAA poll and 21st in the d3soccer.com poll. Wesleyan is ranked fifth in the most recent NSCAA New England poll. Wheaton is fourth. McConnell's most prominent save came in the game's 65th minute as he made a diving stop on a ball destined for the lower right corner. Less than a minute later, Bratt came up with his defensive save to keep the game scoreless.
Getting the first career goal by Laura Bither '18 (#22, photo) in the 50th minute to snap a scoreless draw at Babson Fri., Sept. 12, Wesleyan held the edge for just over nine minutes before the homestanders knotted the count in the 59th minute. Neither team scored over the closing 10:25 of regulation as the game moved into 7-on-7 overtime. Babson wasted little time putting the game in the book, capitalizing on a redirect past Cardinal keeper Sara Grundy '16 just 2:06 into the extra time for the 2-1 triumph. Grundy, facing a total of 18 shots, eight of them on the cage, had stopped six of the initial seven shots on goal. Wesleyan had nine total shots, three of them on net, including a blast by Hannah Plappert '16 11 minutes in the contest that forced the Babson goalie to make a strong save.
The Cardinals defeated the visiting Mitchell College Mariners, 3-0 (25-9, 25-10, 25-7) Fri., Sept. 12 in the first of three matches over the weekend in the Wesleyan Quad. Wesleyan followed up by downing Worcester St. in an exciting match, 3-1 (25-17, 25-18, 22-25, 26-24), then measuring Curry, 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-15) on Sat., Sept. 13. Now 5-1 on the year, Wesleyan is off to its best start in seven years and can equal the 2007 squad, which began 6-1 on its way to a 17-8 season, when the Cardinals battle Eastern Conn. on the road Wed., Sept. 17. Setters Claire Larson '15 (#13 in photo) and Heidi Westerman '17 (#9 in photo) combined for 34 assists against Mitchell with Larson collecting 23 in the first two sets and Westerman closing the match with 11 in the final set.