The men’s soccer team travelled to Rhode Island on Wednesday for the first time ever to face off against what proved to be a competitive Roger Williams University squad. Despite a relentless Cardinal offense playing through two overtime periods, the score remained at nil on both sides, ending in a scoreless tie.
“The pace was quick,” wrote Adrian Reifsnyder ’16 in an email to the Argus. “We played on turf and this inherently speeds the game up. They were also a very physical team and there were some hard tackles from both sides. Both teams came out hard and fast but we were the fitter team and their energy levels dwindled in the second half.”
Indeed, Wesleyan ended the game with 21 shots, six of which were on goal, over Roger Williams’ seven total shots. Only one of the Hawks’ shots was on net, but that one was a high-stakes penalty kick in minute 39 that was saved by Emmett McConnell ’15 as he dove to the lower-left corner to keep Roger Williams scoreless.
“I thought we played well,” Reifsnyder wrote. “We maintained possession of the ball for most of the game and created some good scoring opportunities.”
Though Wesleyan’s defense held strong by giving the opposing offense very few shooting opportunities, back Bryan Rice ’15 received a red card three minutes into the first overtime period. With a man down, the ten Cardinals fought off eleven Hawks for almost twenty minutes.
“We started very strong with several chances in the opening minutes, and then RWU gained momentum and it settled into a pace[d], evenly matched game,” wrote striker Adam Cowie-Haskell ’18 in an email to the Argus. “I thought we played well, but should have capitalized on several golden chances. In the end, considering the other team’s chances and our red card, a [tie] is sufficient.”
Cowie-Haskell was unable to play in the contest against Roger Williams due to a dehydration issue he was experiencing. Despite the sit-out yesterday, he proved to be clutch when it counted in earlier matches. It was Cowie-Haskell who scored the game-winning (and only) goal in the season opener against Eastern Connecticut State University, and it was Cowie-Haskell who placed a rebound for an assist to Chris Kafina ’16 to secure a win over Bowdoin last weekend.
Cowie-Haskell’s achievements did not go unrecognized; he was awarded NESCAC Player of the Week, a feat not commonly won by first-years. Asked about last week’s successes, a humble Cowie-Haskell recounted his experiences in both games against ECSU and Bowdoin.
“[In the match against ECSU,] I did not even watch the ball go in the net,” he wrote. “I hit the rebound, realized it was definitely going to go in, and turned in awe and relief to celebrate with [Charlie] Gruner [’17] and the team. It was the best possible outcome because as a striker, there is pressure on you to score, and then as a freshman playing with the team for the first time, there is pressure to conform [to] the team’s playing style.”
“The Bowdoin game was a welcome to NESCAC soccer—much more physical and a higher tempo,” Cowie-Haskell continued. “In the first five minutes I was bleeding from an elbow to my face. I got used to the pace and used my body well to protect the ball, and was lucky enough to get an assist. Starting my college career off with Player of the Week is an incredible feeling. Yet I know all I did was put away a rebound and was fortunate enough to get an assist. I am eager to prove myself as a better player and scorer.”
After Wednesday’s war of attrition, the Cardinals are headed to Massachusetts to face off with Wheaton College this Saturday, Sept. 13 for their third out-of-conference game of the season.
“Today we are recovering,” Reifsnyder wrote. “Mentally we are positive about our performance last night and are excited to keep getting better as a team with our match against [W]heaton.”
Wheaton has proven to be a tough opponent. Over ten encounters, the Cardinals’ record against the Lyons is 4-5-1, with the last Wesleyan victory having come in 2010. With a team of a new and improved caliber, the Cards are hoping to put another notch in the win column.
“This is the strongest our men’s soccer team has been since I’ve been here,” Reifsnyer wrote. “We have incredible depth, with everyone on the team having something to add, which gives us an edge over other teams.”