Wesleyan Knocks Off Men's Soccer in NESCAC Opener

Bowdoin's Ben Brewster wins a head ball Saturday against Wesleyan (photo courtesy of www.CIPhotography.com)

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. - Chris Kafina scored a pair of goals and added an assist to lead the Wesleyan University men's soccer team to a 3-1 win over Bowdoin on Saturday afternoon at Pickard Field.

The Cardinals, who scored the first three goals of the game, improve to 2-0-0 (1-0-0 NESCAC) while the Polar Bears drop to 1-1-0 (0-1-0 NESCAC) on the season.

Kafina got things going for Wesleyan less than five minutes into the game, finishing off a nifty cross by Brandon Sousa with a header to the top right corner at 4:20. The Cardinals carried their lead into the second period where, after a set piece, Kafina saved a ball on the endline and chipped it across to Charlie Gruner, who finished off the high ball with a header inside the right post at 60:31. Kafina added some insurance nearly 16 minutes later by finishing off another header - this time off of a cross by Nate Howell - to give the visitors a commanding three-goal lead with under 14 minutes to play.

Austin Downing was able to cut into the Wesleyan lead with 3:57 remaining, taking a flick from Andrew Jones and notching his first collegiate goal for Bowdoin inside the left post.

Emmett McConnell made eight saves in the win for Wesleyan, who actually trailed Bowdoin 18-10 in shots. Three Polar Bears saw time in goal, starting with Will Wise (0 saves, 1 GA), followed by Ian McNamara (2 saves, 2 GA) and Noah Safian (0 saves, 0 GA). The teams combined for 32 fouls and five yellow cards in the contest.

Wesleyan will return to action next Saturday at home against Wheaton (Mass.) at noon. The Polar Bears will play Wednesday evening under the lights at Bates at 8:00 p.m.