Jeffs Can't Put Away Wesleyan, Settle for Draw
Courtesy of Wesleyan Sports Information
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Spencer Noon ’13 scored just before halftime but Wesleyan found the equalizer and held on, as the Lord Jeffs and Cardinals played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw Saturday.
The result leaves the Little Three title in possession of all three combatants as all 2012 games between Amherst, Wesleyan, and Williams ended in a tie. It is just the second time in Little Three men's soccer history that all three games have resulted in tie, the first time coming in 1932.
The Jeffs (11-0-2, 7-0-2 NESCAC) got on the board first in the 45th minute when Noon banged home his ninth goal of the season, spotting the visitors a 1-0 halftime advantage. His header coming with just 22 seconds left before intermission, Amherst’s all-time leading scorer was set up by a pinpoint cross from the right side by Ben Norton ’14, his third helper of the season.
Wesleyan (7-3-3, 5-2-2 NESCAC) evened the count in the 66th minute when Rory O'Neill ’13 blasted a 20-yarder into the right corner of the net past keeper Thomas Bull ’16, just the second goal allowed by Bull and the Jeffs all season. It was the third goal of the year for O'Neill, following a pass from Walter Rodriguez ’13, who picked up his first scoring point of the season.
While the teams played the final 54 minutes of the contest scoreless, the game was not without drama and opportunity. Two of the better chances to end the contest came in the first overtime period as Noon got loose on the left side and fired a point-blank shot on goal that Wesleyan keeper Adam Purdy ’13 stopped just two minutes into the extra frame.
A minute later, Wesleyan’s Brandon Souza ’16 bounded a hard shot from the left side that eluded Bull but hit the outside of the right upright. The rebound went to O'Neill whose low header was grabbed by Bull as he lay on the ground.
Amherst outshot its host by a wide 29-12 margin, giving rise to Purdy's career-best 10 save game. Bull made five saves for the Jeffs.
The draw leaves Amherst tied with Williams for the top spot in the NESCAC standings heading into Wednesday’s final regular season contests. The Ephs host Middlebury while Amherst travels to Connecticut College for a 3 p.m. match.