Men's Soccer Headed To NESCAC Championship

November 7, 2009

The Middlebury men's soccer team advanced to the NESCAC Championship game with a 2-0 victory at top-seeded Wesleyan in a semifinal contest. The sixth-seeded Panthers advanced to Sunday's championship game for the fourth straight year, where they will meet Williams, a 2-0 winner over Bowdoin, at noon on Sunday. The loss snapped Wesleyan's school-record 15-game unbeaten streak, as the Cardinals now stand at 11-1-4 on the season.

After a scoreless 78 minutes, Middlebury broke through with 11:04 remaining in the contest as junior defender Harrison Watkins headed a ball inside the left post for a 1-0 lead. Watkins' header followed a low corner kick by junior defender Jake Edwards that passed otherwise untouched through the goal mouth. The goal was his team-leading fifth of the season for Watkins, who has now tallied four goals in his last three games. The tally was also the first given up by Wesleyan since a 3-2 victory over Western Connecticut State University on Oct. 14. The Cardinals had posted five straight shutouts since. Wesleyan freshman goalie Adam Purdy's had his string of scoreless minutes snapped at 570:40 over a seven-game span.

Middlebury pushed its lead to 2-0 three minutes later, as sophomore forward Tyler Macnee netted an unassisted tally with 8:07 to play. Macnee ran in all alone and sent a shot toward the left side of the goal. Purdy got a hand on the ball but was unable to deflect it out of bounds. Macnee ranks second on Middlebury with four goals and is tied with Watkins as the team's leading scorer with 10 points.

Wesleyan had a chance to take a 1-0 lead early in the first half, as senior defender Jory Kahan headed a shot towards an open net from the right side of the box. However, Middlebury senior defender Nolan Lincoln stepped in to block the shot and keep the game scoreless.

Purdy made seven saves in the Wesleyan net, including a key save at the time in the 68th minute. Middlebury rookie forward Adam Batista fired a shot from the left side on a two-man rush, but Purdy leapt to his right and knocked the ball away. The rebound went to Ethan Galiette, whose shot went just wide of the mark.

Middlebury sophomore keeper Tim Cahill needed to make only one save for his sixth shutout, as Wesleyan put just two of its eight shots on net, both of which came in the first half.

Over its last three games Middlebury has defeated each member of the Little Three, knocking off Williams, 1-0, Oct. 30 ; defeating Amherst, 2-1, in its NESCAC tournament opener ; and adding the win over Wesleyan to its credit.