Despite a series of suspensions that left the team without 2012 standout Chris Kafina ’16 and newly-minted captains Ben Bratt ’15 and Danny Issroff ’15, the remaining men’s soccer players performed just fine without that help. The team kicked off its 2013 season off in impressive fashion on Wednesday, defeating Framingham State 3-0.
The Cards hoped to start the season off with a goal quickly, when Max Jones ’16 was fouled inside the box. He set up for a penalty kick, but Framingham keeper William Levitsky easily read his kick to the bottom left corner of the goal and rebounded the ball out to one of his defenders.
Wesleyan instead kicked the scoring off 16 minutes into the game when Dylan Hoy ’17 caught the ball inside Framingham’s defensive end. Hoy sent a pass across that missed striker Matt Lynch ’15, the intended recipient, but striker Omar Bravo ’15 collected the errant ball and buried it past the out-of-place Framingham goalie.
Wesleyan had another great chance about 10 minutes later, when a pass sent in from 18 yards out came down upon a scrum of players six yards out from the goal. Levitsky opted to remain in net after initially starting to play the incoming high pass, leaving the goal vulnerable. Lynch caught the ball on his head and put the tough redirect toward the net. Unfortunately for the Cardinal squad, the goal was open, but the ball sailed just above the center of the crossbar and landed atop the net.
Still up just 1-0 in the 69th minute despite dominating play, Hoy seized the opportunity to play hero in his first-ever varsity game. Middie Nate Howell ’14 brought the ball past the center line and sent a pass across to Hoy, who caught the lob and dribbled into a crowd to the right of the net. He sent a tough-angle shot past a Framingham defender and the keeper, and the ball found its way into the high-left corner.
Six minutes later, Hoy made Framingham pay for one of its 14 penalties. He took a free kick from 25 yards out and put the shot directly on net, where the high shot went in untouched through the right side of the goal.
Another freshman standout, Derek Grammer, notched three saves in his collegiate debut, stopping Framingham on each of the few chances they had, including one first half corner kick.
The Wesleyan team, decimated by self-imposed suspensions, is expected to stagger those penalties throughout the season in order to have enough players to play in each game.
Wesleyan’s win was its first ever against the Massachusetts state university, after tying them last September in their only previous meeting. Framingham State fell to 0-2 on the season, while Wesleyan improved to 1-0. Wesleyan will travel to Maine this weekend to face Bowdoin in the its first NESCAC game of the year on Saturday, Sept 7.