Courtesy Williams Sports Information
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Seventh-seeded Wesleyan University scored in the 94th minute to complete a 2-1, come-from-behind victory at defending conference champion Williams College on Sunday in the quarterfinals of the 2010 NESCAC Men's Soccer Championship. The Cardinals (8-7-0) advance to play top-seeded Bowdoin on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 11:00 a.m.
Wesleyan's Evan Hazelett received a ball in the right side of the box and snuck a cross past keeper Peter Morrell, who was charging off his line, to Walter Rodriguez who scored the golden goal from point blank range on an open net.
The goal ended the Ephs (11-2-2) hopes of winning the NESCAC title for the second year in a row. The Ephs entered the match as the second seed in the tournament.
The Cardinals came out in the first half energized and ready to play. They controlled the midfield and limited the Ephs to only 3 shots. Wesleyan had their own opportunities in the first half including an open shot in the box from 10 yards out by Geoff Zartarian that was saved by Williams keeper Peter Morrell. Morrell had 2 saves on the day for the Ephs.
Despite outshooting the Cardinals 15-to-12, the Ephs had limited opportunities on the day. Their best chances came on a series of plays by forward Charlie Romero in the middle of the second half. Romero played a cross into the box that was just out of the reach of teammate User Kushaina. In addition, Romero had a shot on goal that bounced of the far post.
The Ephs only goal on the day was an own goal by the Cardinals midfielder Roy O'Neill in the 42nd minute off a corner kick from Gordon Atkins. Wesleyan keeper Adam Purdy had 2 saves on the day for the Cardinals.
The Ephs took a 1-0 lead into halftime, and protected the lead with a strong defensive effort led by captain Joe Vella for most of the second half. However, in the 82nd minute Zach Dixon was able to score the equalizer. After a free kick cross into the box that was punched out by Peter Morrell, Dixon was able to corral the rebound and chip a ball over Morrell to tie the game and send the match to overtime.
This was the eighth overtime game played by the Ephs this year, a new NCAA Division III record. The previous record was held by Allegheny College who played seven overtime games in 1996.
The Ephs will now have to wait and hope for a bid to the NCAA tournament in order to continue their season.