Wesleyan became one of four schools chosen to represent the NESCAC in men’s soccer at the Division III NCAA tournament. Williams and Tufts were also chosen via at-large bids to play in the national competition, while Amherst received an automatic bid by winning the conference championship.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the competition,” winger Noah Schlesinger ’13 said. “We got a taste of it last year and want to improve upon our second round exit. With the talent we have, we believe that we can compete in any game.”
Led by NESCAC Player of the Year Adam Purdy ’13, the Cardinals will go to task against the Haverford Fords (12-7) of the Centennial Conference. The Fords emerged as the league champions by beating heavily favored Dickinson College (12-4-2) and Swarthmore College (14-2-2), both by scores of 1-0. Each of the two teams that Haverford knocked off en route to the tournament championship received at-large bids as well, which likely gives the Fords the incentive to prove that their victories were not mere mistakes.
The Cardinals will also look to prove themselves on the national stage, especially in comparison to the other NESCAC schools that made the tournament. Although their season had a slightly disappointing end, the Cardinal team has an incentive to show that it remains one of the strongest teams in the country on both sides of the ball.
The 60-team tournament features two teams with byes in the first round, while the other 58 compete for the privilege of advancing in the single-elimination, winner-take-all tournament. Interestingly, Amherst was gifted the privilege of a bye (along with Messiah College) as their win over Williams in the NESCAC championship vaulted them to their current standing as the second-ranked team in all of Division III men’s soccer. Wesleyan lost to the Lord Jeffs twice this season. If the tournament unfolds in the Cardinals’ favor, perhaps they will get another shot at taking down their perennial rival.