MEDFORD - The third-ranked Jumbos men's soccer team prevailed 1-0 against Wesleyan at Bello Field on Wednesday night for their seventh victory of the season. Junior forward Joe Braun used all of his 6'5" frame to head in the game-winning goal in the 63rd minute off a beautiful corner kick from sophomore midfielder Travis Van Brewer.
|Joe Braun headed the game-winning goal in the Jumbos 1-0 victory|
Tufts (7-0-0, 3-0-0 NESCAC) came into the contest having won each of its previous three contests by a one-goal margin. Wesleyan (2-4-0, 1-2-0 NESCAC) generated the first scoring opportunity in the third minute when midfielder Cameron Park had a shot sail high that could've given the Cardinals the early lead. In the 13th minute, Jumbos sophomore back Biagio Paoletta had a header chance saved by Cardinal goalie Chris Franklin off a left-footed corner from Van Brewer. Tufts' Braun had a header opportunity off a precise long pass from junior midfielder Gavin Tasker saved by Franklin in the 20th minute.
The Cardinals generated their best scoring opportunity in the 34th minute when midfielder JJ LaCorte made a move and booted a shot on net that was stopped by senior goalkeeper Conner Mieth. There was an upbeat pace as both teams looked to generate quality scoring chances, but they were hard to come by as both teams played air-tight defense.
In the first half, the Jumbos outshot the Cardinals nine to seven with both teams putting three shots on goal. Franklin and Mieth each recorded three saves in the first 45 minutes of action. Tufts was able to generate four corner kick opportunities to one for Wesleyan.
The Jumbos came into the second half strong generating two shots in the first five minutes of play. Senior back Sterling Weatherbie booted the ball from just over midfield to Tasker who had an opportunity as Franklin was beat, but the Cardinals recorded a team save to keep the score even. Wesleyan then had a quality look in the 56th minute from Park that went over the goal post. Tufts came right back in the 60th minute when Rojas missed inches right of the goal with a right-footed boot.
Then the Jumbos finally broke through in the 63rd minute when Braun's header found the back of the net off the Van Brewer corner to make the score 1-0. The goal was Braun's second of the season and Van Brewer picked up his fourth assist.
Tufts found a rhythm after the goal and dominated the time of possession the rest of the way. Freshman midfielder Aidan Welsh struck the ball off his right foot in the 68th minute that was saved by Franklin to keep the score 1-0. Wesleyan created its best opportunity of the game in the 82nd minute when defender Nicholas Wallick had his right-footed boot knocked just over the crossbar by Mieth. The Cardinals attempted one other shot that was blocked after the Wallick shot as the Jumbos' defense wouldn't budge.
For the game, Tufts outshot Wesleyan 21 (seven on goal) to 11 (four on goal). Franklin led the contest with six saves while Mieth recorded four saves. The Jumbos generated nine corner kicks to the Cardinals' two. The action got a little chippy as Wesleyan committed 14 fouls to Tufts seven. Rojas attempted a game-high five shots. LaCorte led the game with three shots on goal.
The Jumbo defense led by senior backs Sterling Weatherbie and Jackson Najjar recorded its fifth game of the season without conceiving a goal. Mieth improved his record to 7-0-0 on the year as Tufts remains perfect on the season. In all three conference wins the Jumbos have had, the result has been a 1-0 victory.
Tufts will next be in action on Saturday at 2:30 as they host a conference match against Amherst on Homecoming Day. Wesleyan's next match will be played on Saturday at 1:30 when they host conference opponent Hamilton.
Written By Athletic Communications Intern Bryan Costello