Midweek Wrap - Week 7
The Midweek Wrap highlights weekday matches before they are forgotten in the weekend whirlwind. Compelling match-ups and intriguing results from across the country will be covered. You can expect both brief recaps of the games themselves and to have performances and outcomes placed into context.
Tuesday, October 14
No. 1 Messiah 0, Stevenson 0 (2OT)
Conference familiarity is a theme in this week’s Midweek Wrap, and it all begins with top-ranked Messiah (13-0-1) failing to score for the first time this season against Stevenson (9-5-2). Messiah outshot the Mustangs 26-4, but more telling was Stevenson limiting the Falcons to just four shots on goal, easily their lowest of the season. The result can only be described as shocking considering Stevenson sits in the Commonwealth Conference basement, but Messiah fans should have little cause for concern. The Falcons always seem to have at least one regular season “off” game, and the defense was sturdy once again. Expect this to simply refocus Messiah for the stretch run.
No. 8 Amherst 1, Drew 0
The Amherst Lord Jeffs (10-0-2) remained unbeaten after blanking Drew (6-4-5). Christopher Martin scored his fourth goal of the season in the 19th minute and it was more than enough for Thomas Bull and the Amherst defense. Amherst continues to execute its defense-oriented blueprint successfully, and all signs point to another undefeated regular season. The NESCAC seems to have some separation, with Amherst and Tufts at the top, Williams and Wesleyan just behind, and everyone else battling it out for the final playoff positions. Amherst has owned the NESCAC the past few seasons, but questions remain over whether they’ll do it again and, more importantly, if it will translate to a deeper postseason run.
Wednesday, October 1
No. 2 Kenyon 1, Denison 0 (2OT)
Second-ranked Kenyon (12-0-0) barely scraped by bogey team Denison (5-6-1) with 28 seconds left in the second overtime on Wednesday evening. The Lords surely knew Messiah had opened the door for them at the top of the D3soccer.com Top 25, and peppered the Denison goal with 13 first-half shots. Big Red goalkeeper Blake Schach stood firm, and as the game stretched on it seemed like just another time Denison would get the best of the Lords. With the shot count slowing and overtime winding down, Kenyon tried to fire in a final cross. Nate Petrou over hit the service, but dismay turned to joy when the ball was misplayed and found its way into the back of the net. Kenyon can firmly lay claim to the No. 1 ranking against No. 25 Wabash on Saturday, but everyone is anticipating Tuesday’s showdown with a resurgent Ohio Wesleyan.
UW-Platteville 1, No. 5 Loras 0 (OT)
In another eye opener, UW-Platteville (5-8-3) stunned No. 5 Loras (11-2-1) a minute into overtime on Mbodje Sarr’s strike from the top of the box. The star of the show was goalkeeper Scott Sibik, who made save after save to set the stage for Sarr’s winner. Loras continued a pattern of failing to translate on-field dominance to the scoreboard, but will be relieved the loss came outside the IIAC. Tilts at Luther and against Wartburg will decide the IIAC, home-field advantage, and perhaps even seeding for the upcoming NCAA tournament. The Norse and the Knights may view this as chinks in the Duhawks’ armor, but the perennial Final Four challenger could emerge laser sharp and refocused for the home stretch.
Carthage 2, No. 9 Wheaton (Ill.) 1
The nation’s hottest teams all picked the same week to struggle, with No. 9 Wheaton (Ill.) (12-3-0) dropping a road match with Carthage (8-6-0). The game was fairly even, both teams putting 10 of 14 shots on goal, and physical in typical CCIW style with nine yellow cards. Carthage took an early lead on Arnoldo Reyes’s side volley, and seemed set for a signature win after Austin Bitta chipped Wheaton’s Matt Paprocki with 12 minutes remaining. The Thunder would not give in, and halved the deficit just two minutes later to set up a frantic final 10 minutes. Jovani Mata and the Red Men stood tall, and Carthage picked up an important win. Despite forfeiting two wins for fielding an ineligible player, Carthage is pushing hard for the top spot in the CCIW and will have its sights set on leader North Park. Wheaton, after reeling off 10 straight wins, must regroup as it enters the second half of a four-game road trip.
No. 12 Calvin 3, Kalamazoo 0
No. 12 Calvin (12-2-0) continued its rampage through the MIAA with a strong win over Kalamazoo (7-5-1). Kalamazoo entered on fire, winners of four straight including an impressive road win over Hope, but the Knights put a damper on things in the first half. Senior Travis Vegter led from the front, scoring his 17th goal of the season and assisting on Taylor Pruis’s strike to give Calvin a six-point cushion atop the MIAA. Because they enter conference play so early, Calvin has managed to stay under the radar while steadily climbing the rankings. Nevertheless, Calvin boasts wins over Ohio Wesleyan and Hope and took Wheaton (Ill.) to the wire on the road. Considering their postseason pedigree and in-conference dominance (33-2 aggregate), the Knights are poised for another deep NCAA run.
No. 21 Ohio Wesleyan 2, No. 25 Wabash 0
Wednesday marked the first real test of credentials for No. 25 Wabash (10-1-2), and they received a tough lesson at No. 21 Ohio Wesleyan (10-3-1) in a 2-0 loss. The Little Giants’ schedule had been extremely soft—only two teams with winning records—and the step up in competition was revealing. Ohio Wesleyan has never lost to Wabash (22-0-1 all-time), and after Brian Schaefer scored in the 20th minute it was clear that would not change. Wabash goalkeeper Dayton Jennings made numerous acrobatic saves to keep the score, if not the game itself, respectable. On this evidence Wabash is not ready for primetime, but they have a second chance at staying in the national spotlight as they host presumptive No. 1 Kenyon on Saturday. Ohio Wesleyan seems to be enjoying some time out of the spotlight, and the Battling Bishops must relish the prospect of Kenyon, top-ranked and perfect, feeling all the pressure when Tuesday afternoon rolls around.
No. 22 Rutgers-Newark 2, William Paterson 1 (2OT)
Rutgers-Newark (14-2-0) cemented their appearance at No. 22 in the Top 25 on Charlie O’Connell’s golden goal in the 108th minute to devastate William Paterson (6-7-2). In the process, the Scarlet Raiders own Division III’s longest winning streak at 14 games and kept pace with No. 16 Montclair State in the NJAC. Incredibly, this marked William Patterson’s seventh overtime game already this year, and the Pioneers have been snake bitten in going 1-4-2 in those matches. Newark, on the other hand, won its first overtime decision, and keeps it momentum entering a daunting final stretch. The Scarlet Raiders play the rest of the top four in the NJAC and Empire 8 front-runner Stevens in their final four games. Should they continue this run of form, it would be hard to argue against their claim as one of Division III’s top teams.
Lynchburg 1, Virginia Wesleyan 0
The underrated ODAC featured a tight game Wednesday evening as second-place Lynchburg (9-4-0) tussled with third-place Virginia Wesleyan (7-4-2). Both teams entered hot on the heels of leaders Roanoke, and the magnitude of the game showed with neither team taking too many chances. Lynchburg limited the Marlins to a single shot on goal while Ben Grossfuss made one of the Hornets’ three count in the 16th minute. The result all but ends Virginia Wesleyan’s chances at the ODAC regular season crown, but Lynchburg stands just one point back of Roanoke in a game we’ll look forward to in next week’s Midweek Wrap. The 2010 NCAA runners-up have won five straight and are rounding into form at exactly the right time.
St. Olaf 1, St. Mary’s (Minn.) 0
St. Olaf (10-3-1) kept a comfortable cushion atop the MIAC by shutting down last-placed St. Mary’s (Minn.) (5-7-1). Phumelela Sukati notched the game’s only goal in the 56th minute and Saint Mary’s failed to register a shot on goal. Undefeated in conference, St. Olaf plays its final four games on the road. While the Oles will be favored in each match, the Carleton Knights are lurking in second place and could have a chance to grab a share of the conference crown in the season finale. Considering St. Olaf’s losses to the IIAC’s Big Three (Loras, Luther, Wartburg), nothing but an outright conference title will suffic