October 19, 2009

The Middlebury College men's soccer team had a busy week with three home games on campus. The week began as the Panthers defeated in-state foe Castleton, 1-0.

Middlebury controlled play throughout, owning a 27-3 shots advantage in the game. The Panthers were only able to muster up one goal, that coming with just over 10 minutes left to play in the game. Junior Jake Edwards (Easton, Conn.) served a ball from 25 yards out on the right side on a restart. The shot was slightly deflected by Castleton keeper Mike Anthony before it hit the far post and came to the feet of senior Micah Wood (Tacoma, Wash.), who quickly hit the open net at 79:32.

The Panthers had some opportunities in the first half, but none as solid as a chance in the 55th minute of play. Sophomore Robbie Redmond (Morristown, N.J.) blasted a shot from 25 yards out on a restart, that hit the crossbar. Anthony made a save on Middlebury rookie Adam Batista (Newport, Vt.) in the 70th minute, as he had gained some space from close range. Castleton's best chance to score came in the 75th minute on a hard shot from the left side by Sean Fitzgerald, but Panther junior keeper Tim Cahill (S. Glastonbury, Conn.) was equal to the task. The Panther goalie ended the day with three saves to earn his fourth shutout of the season, while Anthony stopped 10 shots.

Middlebury won its second straight game as the Panthers earned a 3-0 victory over Connecticut College. The Panthers had some great chances early as senior Andrew Banadda (Gaithersburg, Md.) was denied from close range as a defender cleared the ball away. Following a save by Alex Martland on a header from Middlebury junior Harrison Watkins (San Francisco, Calif.), Connecticut College found itself with a chance later in the half. Oscar Brown crossed a ball to David Louria in the 26th minute, but Cahill was there to make the save for the Panthers.

Middlebury struck at the 39:10 mark, as sophomore Tyler Macnee (Williston, Vt.) beat a defender and sent a cross to junior Carson Cornbrooks (Williston, Vt.), who headed the ball into the corner of the net for his team-leading fourth goal of the season.

The lead doubled just 4:43 into the second half as Redmond scored on a rebound after his penalty kick was denied by Martland. Middlebury made it a three-goal game at 70:30, as Wood scored his second goal of the week, beating a defender before breaking to the goal for the tally.

Middlebury kept up the pressure with some additional opportunities late, but Martland held strong as the Panthers came away with the 3-0 win. Cahill made three saves in goal to earn the shutout, while Martland made six stops for the Camels.

Wesleyan scored goals in the first five and last five minutes of the game to pick up a 2-0 NECAC road win at Middlebury on Sunday. The Cardinals, who entered the game ranked first in New England and sixth nationally, tie their best start in school history with a 9-0-3 mark, while also tying a record with eight shutouts. The Panthers fall to 6-4-2 on the year, 2-3-2 in NESCAC play.

Wesleyan struck early with a tally just 4:42 into the contest. With little room, Keisuke Yamashita made a quick short pass to Austin Woolridge 16 yards out. Woolridge took a quick step and fired a shot into the lower right corner of the net to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead with his third tally of the season.

Wesleyan controlled much of the play for the first 25 minutes, before Middlebury got on track with some offense of their own in the 35th minute. Redmond earmarked a shot for the top left corner on a restart from 19 yards out, but Adam Purdy made a diving save to preserve the 1-0 advantage.

Middlebury came out strong in the second half, with pressure on the Cardinal net for much of the half. Wesleyan did have an opportunity in the 53rd minute, but Yamashita's shot on a corner kick went just wide of the far post.

The Panthers kept coming, and nearly tied the game in the 82nd minute after a flurry in the box. Redmond found himself open after gathering a bouncing ball and quickly fired a shot to the left side of the net, where it was cleared by Wesleyan's Mark Murphy. Less than a minute later, Edwards bent a corner kick from the right side that hit the crossbar before being cleared away.

Wesleyan sealed the game on a Middlebury miscue late in the game, with Noah Schlesinger scoring his first of the season. Cahill came out to play a ball, but a Middlebury defender wasn't aware and sent the ball back towards the goal, leaving Schlesinger and Cahill in a footrace. Schlesinger got to the ball just ahead of a diving Cahill and found the back of the net.

Purdy made three saves in goal to earn his seventh shutout of the season, while Cahill also made three stops for the Panthers.
. Men's soccer record: 6-4-2
. Up next: 10/24 @ Bates