Wesleyan Advances Past No. 1 Men’s Soccer, 1-0

Wesleyan Advances Past No. 1 Men’s Soccer, 1-0

AMHERST, Mass. – Komar Martinez-Paiz scored the game-winner in the 71st minute as the eighth-seeded Wesleyan University men's soccer team knocked off top-seed Amherst College, 1-0 in Saturday's NESCAC Quarterfinal contest at Hitchcock Field.

RECORDS
Wesleyan (8-7-1)
Amherst (14-1-1)

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

  • In a scoreless opening 45 minutes of play, Amherst controlled the run of play and outshot Wesleyan, 7-2, including a driven shot by Milton Rico '16 in the 27th minute that Cardinals goalkeeper Jack Katkavich tapped just over the crossbar.
  • Early in the second stanza, Wesleyan had an outstanding opportunity to take a 1-0 lead when it was awarded a penalty kick, but Purple & White goalkeeper Thomas Bull '16 made a phenomenal foot save on Charlie Gruner's attempt from the spot to keep the game knotted at 0-0 at the 51:37 mark.
  • Midway through the second half, Wesleyan had a pair of shots on target as Brandon Sousa and Charlie Livingstone notched a shot each took aim, but Bull was able to fend off both attempts.
  • In the 64th minute, Amherst had a terrific opportunity to take the lead when Jackson Lehnhart '17 sent a beautiful corner kick into the box. Both Fikayo Ajayi '19 and Cameron Bean '17 were able to get shots off in close proximity, but Katkavich made two critical saves but could parry the ball only as far as Greg Singer '16 who blasted a curling shot from 16 yards out, but the shot struck the top of the post.
  • Seven minutes later, the Cardinals took the lead when Sousa's pass found Martinez-Paiz in the box and he finished with a goal in the top left corner to give Wesleyan a 1-0 edge.
  • Amherst responded with intensified pressure, and Luke Nguyen '19, who played well in midfield for the Purple & White throughout the contest tried a long shot but his offering went just high at the 80:19 mark.
  • Amherst had another good look at goal in the 85th minute as Christopher Martin '17 broke free down the right side of the box and ripped a shot toward the far post, but Katkavich made a diving stop to keep his team in front as the Cardinals were able to hold on for the win.
  • Katkavich finished with five saves in the winning effort, while Bull turned away four shots on goal. Rico and Sousa each led their respective teams with two shots on goal. 
  • Amherst outshot Wesleyan, 15-7 in the contest, and held a decisive, 10-1 advantage in corner kicks. 

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE

  • The loss for the Purple & White is the team's first over a span of 23 games (18-0-5) from Oct. 24, 2014 to Oct. 31, 2015, which is good for 21st in NCAA Division III history.

QUOTE FROM HEAD COACH JUSTIN SERPONE

  • "Today's result was no surprise. We know how good a team Wesleyan is. They made a play and we didn't. We need to regroup and get prepared for NCAA's. I believe we still have a lot of soccer left."

UP NEXT

  • Wesleyan advances to the semifinal round of the NESCAC Championship tournament next Saturday, Nov. 7 and will take on second-seeded Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vt.
  • Amherst awaits an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.