Saward Wins 300th As Men's Soccer Knocks Off Wesleyan

October 29, 2011

Middlebury head coach David Saward won his 300th game, as the seventh-seeded Panthers knocked off second-seeded Wesleyan 3-2 in a NESCAC Quarterfinal game on Saturday. The Panthers advanced to next weekend’s semifinal round at Amherst, where they will meet the host school at 1:30 p.m. Williams takes on Trinity in the other semifinal contest at 11:00 a.m., with the winners meeting on Sunday at noon in the NESCAC Championship game.

Saward’s 300th win comes in his 27th season, with the Panther bench boss now owning a career mark of 300-97-47. Middlebury improves to 8-3-4 with the win, while Wesleyan, which entered the game ranked ninth nationally, suffered its second consecutive loss after starting the season 10-0-3.

Middlebury went ahead for good in the 31st minute thanks to junior Matt Martin. Senior Robbie Redmond sent the ball to Martin along the left side of the box. Martin aimed a shot for the far post; Wesleyan keeper Adam Purdy leaped to his left, but the ball brushed off his fingertips and sailed in with 30:37 gone for Martin's second goal.

Wesleyan had taken a 1-0 lead before the game was 10 minutes old. Zach Dixon took a pass about 30 yards out and launched a rocket that found the top-left corner of the net at 9:19 for his first goal of the season.

Middlebury tied it in the 29th minute. Purdy made a diving stop on a shot by freshman Noah Goss-Woliner but the rebound went to sophomore Graham Knisley on the right side. Knisley fired the ball into an open net at 28:59 as Purdy scrambled to get into position for his first goal of the year.

The visitors appeared to ice the game in the 84th minute, as senior Martin Drolet beat Purdy one-on-one and scored with 6:57 left for his team-high sixth goal. Wesleyan answered just 29 seconds later, with another goal from Dixon. Middlebury senior keeper Tim Cahill  dove to punch the ball away from a sea of white jerseys in the box, but Dixon chipped it in from the 18-yard line to make it a 3-2 game.

Wesleyan continued to apply the pressure but did not generate any dangerous opportunities the rest of the way. Cahill needed to make only one stop as the defense in front of him limited Wesleyan to five shots. Purdy finished with three saves for Wesleyan.

The win continued a remarkable streak for Middlebury, as the Panthers have made it to the semifinal round in every NESCAC Championship, which began in 2000.