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.
Chris Kafina '16 (#2, photo insert lower left) fired a 25-yard shot from straight on with 7:11 left in the second half, and an unusual bounce helped the ball find its way into the left side of the Bowdoin goal to put Wesleyan ahead for good, 2-1, in its NESCAC and home opening game Sat., Sept. 6. Kafina received a centering pass from Adam Cowie-Haskell '18 (#18, photo insert upper left) and wasted little time taking his attempt. The game ended in Wesleyan's favor, 2-1. Last year in Brunswick, Me., Kafina was the catalyst in Wesleyan's 3-1 victory, netting a pair of goals along with an assist. Cowie-Haskell, who also scored the lone goal in the Cardinals' season-opening 1-0 triumph at Eastern Conn., was honored by the NESCAC as its Player of the Week.
Taking on Fairfield and Hartford in a season-opening doubles tournament Sat., Sept. 6, the Cardinals went undefeated in 20 matches among five tandem categories, proving to be the dominant squad in the event. In order to provide each pair with four matches of one six-game set, each college's #1 and #2 doubles team took on the comparable squads from the other two colleges, while a mixture of opponents among groups #3, #4 and #5 rounded out play. Each Cardinal entry posted a 4-0 record. The next action for the team comes up Fri.-Sun., Sept. 26-28 when Middlebury hosts the annual fall ITA regional championships.
Wesleyan dropped its NESCAC home opener to Bowdoin Sat., Sept. 6, 2-1, on a header with less than five minutes to go in double overtime. The winning header came off a corner kick with 4:31 left in the contest. Wesleyan and Bowdoin have now met every year since 1978, spanning 37 consecutive years. The action started in the first five minutes of the game with Wesleyan's goalie Jessica Tollman '15 (#30, left side photo) stopping a breakaway chance for one of her 12 saves in the game. Wesleyan quickly responded with a well-executed play that was set up by Katy Hardt '15 and Madeline Keane '16. Hardt sent a ball into the box from in front of the Cardinals' bench that Keane touched ahead to Marisa Yang '16 (#1, right side photo) for the finish from the six-yard line to give the home team a 1-0 lead at 4:56.
Competing in the Sacred Heart Invitational Doubles Tournament Sat., Sept. 6 to inaugurate the fall campaign, the tandem of Eudice Chong '18 (right photo) and Helen Klass-Warch '18 (left photo) posted a 4-0 record with wins over Bryant, Fairfield, Hartford and Quinnipiac to win the first flight. Bad weather moved in during the afternoon and forced the cancellation of a portion of the matches as each pair was expected to play five matches, all a single six-game set. In the second flight, Dasha Dubinsky '18 and Aashli Budhiraja '18 went 2-2, defeating Fairfield and Sacred Heart while affling to Quinnpiac and Bryant. Nicole McCann '18 and Ella Lindholm-Uzzi '17 represented the Cardinals in the third flight, going 2-1, with triumphs vs. Fairfield and Hartford and a loss vs. Sacred Heart. Jessica Seidman '16 and Maddie James '16 teamed up to go 2-1 in the fourth flight by downing Sacred Heart and Hartford while coming up short against Bryant.
Beginning the 2014 campaign at the Brandeis Invitational Fri., Sept. 5, the Cardinals got 20 kills from the outside hitter Sarah Swenson '18 (#4, left side photo) and 18 from OH Tyla Taylor '18 (#10, right side photo) to power Wesleyan to an exciting 3-2 (28-26, 25-22, 25-27, 21-25, 15-12) victory over Emmanuel in the first of three matches during the event. Wesleyan played twice on Sat., Sept. 6, knocking off the host in five sets, the falling to Coast Guard, 3-1. Taylor was named to the nine-member all-tournament team. Wesleyan is back in action Fri., Sept. 12, hosting Mitchell during the Wesleyan Quad.
In a first-ever meeting with UMass Boston, the Cardinals opened the 2014 campaign on the road Wed., Sept. 3. Despite stellar netminding by Jessica Tollman (#30, left side photo), who made four saves, including a stupendous stop on a first-half breakaway by the Beacons' all-time leading scorer Krista Ledin, Wesleyan fell, 1-0. Up next for the team in the home and NESCAC opener Sat., Sept. 6 vs. Bowdoin. The game is scheduled to be webcast. Eight minutes in the contest, Tollman made her brilliant save to keep the game scoreless, coming out to cut down the angle after Ledin came free on the right side. After playing much of the initial 25 minutes of the game in their own defensive half, the Cardinals got the offense more in tune during the final 20 minutes of the period.
Adam Cowie-Haskell '18 (#18, photo) broke a scoreless tie in the 75th minute and it held up as the game-winner as the Cardinals defeated Eastern Conn. on the road Tues., Sept. 2, to inaugurate the season. Haskell took a pass from the right side by Charlie Gruner '17 and took an initial shot from six yards away that was stopped by a diving ECSU keeper. But Cowie-Haskell collared the rebound and lofted his next shot into the vacant net for the 1-0 Wesleyan lead. It held up as Wesleyan limited the Warriors to just four shots on the day, two of them stopped by Emmett McConnell '15 for his fifth career shutout.