Outshooting its visitor by a substantial 17-7 margin and generating 13 corner kicks to just two by Eastern Conn., Wesleyan generally controlled the tempo of its season opener Tues., Sept. 8 in Middletown. But the Warriors cashed in on a free kick from about 23 yards out in the 58th minute to break the scoreless deadlock and held on for a 1-0 victory. Since re-establishing their rivalry in 2012 after a nine-year hiatus, Wesleyan and ECSU have played to three 1-0 decisions and a 1-1 tie. The Cardinals own a 10-5-1 edge in the series but the teams are even at 4-4-1 over the nine games contested in Middletown.
Up next for the Cardinals is the second-ever meeting between Wesleyan and Haverford on the pitch Sat., Sept. 12 in a game slated for a webcast and LiveStats. The first battle between the squads took place in the NCAA Division III tournament in 2012 and ended in a 2-2 tie, but the Fords advanced in the playoffs via penalty kicks.
Against Eastern, Wesleyan got strong play from Brandon Sousa '16 as he took the majority of the squad's corners and nearly set up two second-half goals as his curling left-footed blasts found the heads of Charlie Gruner '17 and Adam Cowie-Haskell '18, only to result in glances off the cross bar and left goal post. Cowie-Haskell led the attack with five shots while Sousa added three. Another near goal came with just under three minutes left as the Cardinals were pressing for the equalizer. Chris Kafina '16 put on a move to his right and penetrated toward the Warrior net. His hard, low shot was deflected wide of the cage by a diving Warrior defender.
In the Wesleyan net, Eric Jasinski '17 drew his first career varsity start and played well, making two outstanding saves in the first half, one off a point-blank redirect of a crossing pass on the right side and another on a long shot from the right side that was aimed at the upper left corner of the net. He finished the outing with three stops.