Wheaton falls short of Wesleyan in battle between regional soccer powers
NORTON, MA- For the eighth time in as many meetings, the Wesleyan University men's soccer team didn't score more than a goal against Wheaton College, but it didn't matter on Tuesday afternoon as the Cardinals' lone goal stood up as the game-winner during a 1-0 victory over the host Lyons in a battle between two of the region's top four teams on Keefe Field.
Entering the game ranked 13th nationally and second in New England by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), the Lyons fell to 9-2-1, while Wesleyan, which is ranked fourth in the region, remained unbeaten at 4-0-2.
Wheaton was held without a goal for just the second time this season despite holding a 15-9 advantage in shots and 6-4 edge in corner kicks. Junior goalie Cole Davidson (Needham, MA/Salisbury School) was credited with four stops in the loss.
For Wesleyan, senior Keisuke Yamashita (Yokohama, Japan/Azabu) picked up the game-winning goal in the 28th minute on a junior Geoff Zartarian (Falmouth, MA/Falmouth) assist. Freshman goalkeeper Adam Purdy (Montclair, NJ/Montclair) turned aside four shots while collecting his fourth shutout.
The Cardinals' scoring play began on a free kick from the right side of the field, where service into the box was broken up by Davidson. However, the loose ball drifted to the far post to Zartarian, who pushed his pass across the goal mouth to Yamashita for the finish at 27:01.
After holding a slight 7-6 edge in shots through the first half, the Lyons upped their offensive pressure in the second frame, controlling play while taking eight of the stanza's 11 shots. Junior Josh Solomon (Acton, MA/Acton-Boxboro Regional) nearly knotted the game when his left-footed blast smacked the right post with just under 14 minutes on the clock.
In the final six minutes, the hosts had a trio of strong scoring chances, including shots from sophomore Rory McGonigle (Los Angeles, CA/Loyola) and freshman David Turina (North Yarmouth, ME/Northfield Mount Hermon School) that each went wide. With 1:15 to go, Wheaton's last-gasp chance off a corner was just off the mark, as an in-close header from junior David Ferriero (Medway, MA/Medway) sailed over the crossbar.
The Lyons remain at home on Saturday to face New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) foe United States Coast Guard Academy during Homecoming weekend. Start time is slated for 1:00 p.m.