Emma Nitzberg '12 Scores in OT as Cards Continue to Add to Defensive Record by Blanking Trinity
Emma Nitzberg '12 (#10, main photo) collected a serve by Kaylin Berger '13 past the Trinity defense and scored the golden goal just 1:10 in overtime to make Wesleyan a 1-0 winner Sat., Oct. 3 in a NESCAC battle. By shutting out the Bantams, Wesleyan continued its best-ever defensive effort as the Cardinals, even after falling by a 1-0 count in another NESCAC affair Sun., Oct. 4 at Middlebury, and playing to a 1-1 deadlock with Eastern Conn. Wed., Oct. 7, have yielded just three goals in their last eight games. No previous Wesleyan squad has allowed fewer than five goals over any eight-game span.
Combining for Wesleyan's fifth shutout of the season at Trinity were keepers Clare Colton '12 (#0, photo insert lower left) and Kate Connolly-Smithwick '13 (#00, photo insert upper right). Colton posted three saves in the opening 45 minutes while Connolly-Smithwick was busy making nine stops over the final 46:10 and got credit for her second victory of the season.
Wesleyan was just the second team to score on Trinity in its six games this season.
At Middlebury, facing the undefeated Panthers who are ranked third in New England and 20th nationally in Division III, Wesleyan was outshot 18-2 but 13 saves by Connolly-Smithwick kept the Cards in the game. Middlebury scored in the 19th minute and it stood up as the game's lone tally. Wesleyan remained winless vs. the Panthers in the last 15 meetings (0-13-2).
The Cardinals moved out of conference in facing Eastern Conn., and played to a 1-1 draw. Dasha Battelle '11 fed Katrina Ellis-Ferrara '13 for Wesleyan's goal in the 16th minute, giving Ellis-Ferrara her fourth goals of the year and tying her for the team lead. Wesleyan held the edge for 63 minutes before Eastern tied the count. The teams played the next 31 minutes, which included two 10-minute overtime frames, without incident. Connolly-Ferrara came up with 10 saves in the contest to maintain her outstanding .917 save percentage.
Wesleyan hosted Bowdoin Sat., Oct. 10 in hopes of ending a 14-game winless streak vs. Bowdoin. It wasn't to be, however, as the visitors prevailed, 2-1 in overtime, scoring the winner 3:26 into the extra frame. Wesleyan had tied the contest on a goal by Berger with 17:31 left in regulation. A great save with 8:30 to go by Connolly-Smithwick helped preserve the tie and send the game into an extra period. But the Polar Bears struck quickly to extend their unbeaten streak vs, Wesleyan to 15. Connolly-Smithwick finished the game with seven stops.
Despite the two goals allowed, Wesleyan still has its lowest goals-against figure over a nine-game span with five, two better than the previous best in 2006. Wesleyan's next challenge will come from R.I.C. Wed., Oct. 14 in a game to be webcast. Instructions for watching are on the athletics home page under "Webcasts."