Extending the theme of home-field disadvantage in the Wesleyan-Western New England men's soccer series, the Cardinals got a first-half tally from Brandon Sousa '16 in the 32nd minute and added a second-half marker from Max Jones '16 in the 62nd minute en route to a 2-0 victory Wed., Sept. 23. At the other end, keeper Jack Katkavich '17 turned aside five Golden Bear scoring bids to post his first career shutout.
Both Sousa and Jones netted their first goal of the season, Sousa on a rocket from near the top of the box into the right side of the cage mid-height while Jones, with Sousa at his side, notched a direct kick from 20 yards away, getting the ball over the WNE wall but under the crossbar into the right side of the net. Sousa, a left-footed kicker, and Jones, a righty, were both at the ready for the free kick with Jones doing the striking.
Katkavich posted four of his saves in the first half as shots were slightly in the Cardinals' favor, 6-5. Wesleyan dominated the second period with a 14-3 shot margin and took the only corner kicks of the game, seven in the opening frame and three in the second half for 10 in total.
With the triumph, Wesleyan took a slim 5-4-2 lead in the overall series vs. the Golden Bears as the teams have played 10 consecutive years with an extra game during the NCAA Division III Tournament in 2009. That game ended in a tie with Wesleyan advancing on penalty kicks. Wesleyan stands 3-1-1 in the five games played in Springfield while WNE holds a 3-2-1 edge in the six contests in Middletown and had captured the last two meetings of the squads, both by a 1-0 count, before this year.
Next up for the Cardinals is a critical home NESCAC battle with Bates Sat., Sept. 26. The contest is scheduled for a webcast.