MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The #1 Tufts University men's soccer team played to a 1-1 draw with Wesleyan University in a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) game on Wednesday evening at Smith Field.
|Senior Gavin Tasker led all players with five shots in the contest|
The Jumbos are now 7-0-1 with a 3-0-1 record in NESCAC play while the Cardinals go to 4-1-3 overall with a 1-1-3 NESCAC record.
A shot by senior Gavin Tasker in the first minute of play set the Jumbos up with a corner kick, but the attempt was headed out to safety. Classmate Tanner Jameson sent a ball forward for Tasker about one minute later and his cross was deflected out of bounds. The ensuing corner found senior Joe Braun's head, but his shot went high. In the eighth minute, the Jumbos forced a turnover at midfield. The ball went to Tasker who fired a shot on goal from just outside the box.
Alec Haas earned an opportunity for Wesleyan, breaking up the strong offensive attack from the Jumbos. Haas won a race down to the endline and kept the ball in play. He turned back up the field, but before he could get a shot away the Tufts defense cleared the ball.
An attempted service by the Cardinals was then mishit by the Jumbos and earned Wesleyan a corner kick. They played it quickly to the top left of the box, but were unable to get a shot away.
In the 21st minute, Jumbo senior Brett Rojas earned enough space to load up on a shot from just outside the top right of the 18-yard box which forced Cardinal goalkeeper Liam Devanny to dive to his left to stop. A rebound came out to the middle of the box, but no Jumbo was in the immediate area to capitalize on the opportunity.
The teams traded chances with less than seven minutes to play in the first half as a shot by Cardinal Tucker Kelsch forced junior goalkeeper Will Harned to slide out onto a skidding ball. That quickly resulted in an opportunity for the Jumbos. A cross from the left side of the box went too long, but a quick touch sent the ball back into the box which was headed by junior Max Jacobs. The header ricocheted off the crossbar and came out to the middle of the box where it was headed home by junior Derek Enge to give the Jumbos a 1-0 lead in the 40th minute.
Tufts continued to apply pressure at the start of the second half as senior Zach Lane won a free ball down the right side of the field. He chipped a pass to Rojas who fired a shot high. On the ensuing goal kick Tasker downed the ball and sent a cross intended for Lane, but it was just out of his reach.
The Cardinals responded with a strong opportunity. Good passing earned enough free space for a service from the right side of the box which found Mike Gallo, but he fired his shot over the goal.
After quick passing between sophomore Ian Daly, Lane, and Tasker, a chip down the line found a Jumbo who sent a ball into the box from the right side. That forced Devanny off his line and he stopped enough of the ball, but didn't get all of it. Braun was waiting for the rebound, but a Wesleyan defender deflected the ball away while defending the open goal.
With many Jumbos caught upfield, the Cardinals pushed the attack and earned a corner kick immediately following the defensive save. The kick went to the far right side of the goal and made its way out to Nicholas Wallick who rifled a shot into the bottom right of the goal to tie the contest in the 62nd minute.
Tufts would reapply pressure quickly as Lane used fancy footwork to gain enough free space inside the box. His shot beat the goalkeeper, but it hit the cross bar. Just two minutes later, Braun was crashing towards goal with Tasker out on the left wing. Tasker crossed a ball to Braun in the middle of the field. He one-touched the pass towards the goal, but the ball sailed just high.
A clear by the Jumbos paved way for Braun on the left side of the field. He found Lane on a switch. A quick cut-in gave Lane free space to fire a shot that was deflected away. Tufts earned a corner kick from the play, but that would be the most of that opportunity. With under three minutes to play, the Jumbo midfield forced a turnover in the attacking end. Junior Calvin Aroh found Tasker in the middle of the field and his 25-yard shot was too high.
A cross by Kelsch, which was deflected out of play, gave the Cardinals a corner kick with just over four minutes left in the first overtime period. However, the kick was cleared away by the Jumbos. Jacobs earn an opportunity with less than two minutes in the period, but his shot was saved. A late corner kick for Tufts provided an opportunity as another shot by Jacobs went wide.
The best opportunity of the second overtime period came after a Daly chip down into the corner to senior Zach Trevorrow who sent a ball to the middle of the box for Tasker. His shot was saved though. A strong response from Wesleyan almost won them the contest as a ball that was deflected away nearly found its way into the Jumbo goal.
Harned made three saves on four shots on goal in the tie. He is now 7-0-1 on the season. Devanny stopped six of sevens shots on goal. He is 3-1-3.
The Jumbos return home on Saturday when they host Trinity for a NESCAC contest. They are scheduled to start at 2:30 pm. The Cardinals return to action on Saturday when they head to Amherst for a NESCAC matchup, starting at 12:30 pm.