Led by Adam Cowie-Haskell ’18 and Garrett Hardesty ’18, the men’s soccer team has gotten off to a fast start this season. In the three bouts in the previous week, the Cardinals emerged with a 2-0-1 record, outscoring opponents by a 10-2 margin. Cowie-Haskell paces the squad with five goals through the first week of play, while Hardesty ranks second on the team with four. Using a platoon at goalkeeper, the Cardinals have found success, conceding only a goal to each of their first two opponents before shutting out John Jay College on Tuesday.
Captain Danny Rubenstein ’17 commented on the squad’s fast start to the year.
“The start of the season has gone very well,” the midfielder said. “We have found different ways the past couple game[s] to score goals and have gotten great productivity from Cowie and Garrett. We have been grappling with the concept of communication and just the ability to simplify the game. At times it’s too ‘sexy’ and not gritty enough, but with the talent we have it’s in our nature to play with some flair. Our biggest strength has been unity. When guys have gone down for various reasons there is always a ‘next man up’ kind of mentality and we have done a great job of playing for one another.”
Last week, the Cardinals opened their season with a non-conference road game against Eastern Connecticut State University. The game was a scoreless stalemate for most of regulation before Eastern’s Justin Grant gave his squad the lead when he beat Wesleyan netminder Jack Katkavich ’17 at 76:06. The Cardinals, however, wouldn’t be deterred: Cowie-Haskell scored the Cardinals’ first goal of the season only 23 seconds later when he took Jack Wolf ’20’s pass and found the back of the net. The game would remain tied through the end of regulation, and neither team would score during either overtime period, ending the game in a 1-1 tie.
Despite the balanced result, the Cardinals outshot the Warriors 15-2 and put seven shots on net. Katkavich played 80:44 in net, while Brian Harnett ’18 also saw 29:16 of time.
When asked about being a leader on this team, Rubenstein offered some guidance.
“I am very honored and humbled to be co-captain with Charlie [Gruner ’17]. I’d like to think we have done pretty well up to this point so far, but there is still much to be done. Our experience in the previous three years has been the biggest catalyst of the way we lead our team. Leadership is always a crucial piece of success. We’ve had exceptional talent in my three years here, but have not always bought into a single goal. It’s imperative that we have one outstanding goal and we do everything we can to achieve that.”
On Saturday, the Cardinals traveled to Swarthmore, PA to take on Swarthmore College. Wesleyan emerged victorious in a strong showing, defeating the home team by a 4-1 margin. Cowie-Haskell and Hardesty each contributed two goals on attack, and Katkavich earned the win in net while making four saves. The Red Birds drew first blood when Hardesty scored his first goal of the season, firing a bouncing pass into the right side of the goal at 11:10. Wesleyan took a 1-0 lead into the half before Cowie-Haskell gave the Birds a 2-0 advantage at 60:30, with Mike Gallo ’20 providing an assist on the play. Swarthmore cut the deficit to one only a couple minutes later before Hardesty increased the lead to two once again at the 79:09 mark on a feed from Nick Miceli ’17. Cowie-Haskell provided an insurance goal at 83:20 when he took a Hardesty pass from across the box and tucked it inside the post to ensure the Cardinals’ victory.
Rubenstein, a native of nearby Philadelphia, explained what it’s like to play in a home-like environment on the road.
“Similar to last year, when I had the opportunity to go home and play in front of so many family and friends, it instill[ed] a sense of pride in me,” said Rubenstein. “Many of those people have supported me since I was just beginning soccer, and I was elated and to have them there.”
Tuesday night, playing their third consecutive road game to open the season, the team traveled to New York City to take on John Jay. Cowie-Haskell and Hardesty each added two goals apiece once again, and the Cardinals came away with a convincing 5-0 victory. Cowie-Haskell opened the scoring as he finished a deflection at the 11-minute mark to give the Red Birds a 1-0 lead. He would later add another, scoring off the rebound of an Aaron Stone ’18 shot and giving the Cardinals a two goal lead. Hardesty would later add two goals two minutes apart, with assists from Jack Wolf ’20 and Cowie-Haskell on each. First-year player Alec Hass ’20 scored his first career goal at the 67-minute mark, deflecting an Eric Gooden ’19 pass into the back of the net. Wesleyan outshot their opponent by a 20-3 margin, with fourteen shots on target. Harnett earned the victory in net this time around, making two saves in 80 minutes of time.
The Cardinals begin their slate of home games this Saturday with a conference matchup against NESCAC rival Bowdoin at 1:30 at Jackson Field.
Bowdoin, who ended the Cardinals’ season a year ago, comes to town with a target on their back.
“We are going to do everything we have to do to get a win Saturday,” Rubenstein said. “Our focus is on Bowdoin and only Bowdoin. They ended our season last year in the NESCAC finals and there is no better revenge than beating them in our home opener.”