Springfield, Mass. - September 15, 2010 - Walter Rodriguez scored in the 86th minute to lift the visiting Wesleyan University men's soccer team past Springfield College on Wednesday evening on Brock-Affleck Field. Wesleyan, who entered the contest ranked 23rd in the nation, improves to 1-1 on the season, while the Pride lost for the first time in 2010, dropping to 4-1 this year.
Wesleyan netted the first goal of the game off a corner kick just 2:18 into the contest. After a Wesleyan corner kick by Steve Paresi, Evan Hazelett's shot deflected off a Springfield defender and into the back of the net as the visitors grabbed a quick one-goal lead.
The Cardinals controlled much of the play in the beginning of the first half, before the momentum shifted as Springfield dominated the final 20 minutes of the opening stanza. The Pride tied the contest up in the 36th minute after a terrific set piece following a Wesleyan foul. Goalkeeper Chris Walton sent in a free kick from 10 yards behind the midway line, which Michael Fowler flicked behind the defense with his head. Scott Donofrio slipped through the defense and slammed home his first goal of the season to even the game at one.
Despite outshooting Springfield 13-3 in the second half, both teams had quality scoring chances in the final 45 minutes. The Pride nearly went up 2-1 with just over 13 minutes remaining as Fowler maneuvered through a pair of Wesleyan defenders and let loose a shot, only to have goalie Adam Purdy dive to his right and make a tremendous save.
Rodriguez pumped home the eventual game-winner on a broken play in the Springfield defensive third. Paresi sent in a cross from the right side that Noah Schlesinger ran onto, freezing Walton, as he left the ball from an uncoming Rodriguez. Rodriguez then tapped in the eventual game-winner into an empty net, sending the Wesleyan faithful into cheers.
For the game, Wesleyan owned an 18-12 advantage in shots and an 11-2 edge in corner kicks. Purdy posted six saves in the victory, while Walton had his streak of three-consecutive shutouts snapped, despite making a season-best nine saves.
The Pride return to action on Saturday afternoon when it opens up New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play hosting MIT at 12:00 pm.