Men’s Soccer Ties Framingham State as Williams Match Looms
Men’s soccer was bound to try to leave something in the tank for its important rivalry game against Williams on Saturday, Sept. 22. Unfortunately, the Cardinals had a game to play before Williamstown beckoned, and they were unable to defeat non-conference foe Framingham State in that contest. Though the 1-1 draw is not a bad result by any means, Framingham came into the game with a 1-3 record, and Wes would have liked to come away with a win against a sputtering opponent.
Wesleyan was able to control the action early on by ramping up the pressure on offense to strike first. Brandon Sousa ‘16 pummeled a shot into the right side of the net in the 27th minute, and Wes was up 1-0. It was clear Framingham was back on its heels, as the Wesleyan team outshot its opponent 8-2 in the first half. Credit goes to the defense as well, which prevented Framingham from getting a single attempt on net. Tri-captain and keeper Adam Purdy ’13 went into the break without having to make a save, and it looked like the Cardinals would cruise to the win.
Framingham State picked up its play in the second half, though Wesleyan still led in shot attempts, 8-6. Unfortunately, the last of Framingham’s shots finally beat Purdy in the 87th minute, which tied the score and sent the game to overtime. Wesleyan kept up the shooting barrage in the extra 20 minutes but to no avail. In the end, Wesleyan took 23 shots to Framingham’s 11, and Purdy only needed to make five saves. This was in stark contrast to Framingham’s keeper Sam Yoder, who turned away 12 of 13 shots on goal.
Though the tie was disappointing, Wesleyan remains undefeated on the road. The Cardinals hope to keep it that way when they pursue the big prize of the week, a victory against Little Three rival Williams. The last time the two teams met, Wesleyan emerged triumphant at home to win a 2-1 nail biter in double overtime on a goal by current tri-captain Rory O’Neill ’13. This game paved the way to the 2011 Little Three championship for Wes, its first in men’s soccer since 1992. The last time the Wesleyan team played in Williamstown was during the first round of the 2010 NESCAC playoffs. Wesleyan got the best of Williams in that match as well by capitalizing on an overtime goal from Walter Rodriguez ’13 to prevail.
If the past few clashes between these two teams are any indication, this game should be one of the most exciting of the year. Wesleyan may end up going to overtime once again when all is said and done, against a bitter rival, no less. Kickoff is set for 11:30, and the Cardinals would welcome a large contingent of WesFans to cheer them on against their traditional foe.