Men's soccer notches third straight NESCAC shutout with 1-0 win at Wesleyan

Owen Keleher's second-half, unassisted goal gave Bates a 1-0 win at Wesleyan on Oct. 12, 2019. (File photo by Samuel Mironko '21 for Bates College)

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- Sophomore Owen Keleher netted the lone goal in the 56th minute and the Bates men's soccer team won its third straight NESCAC game by shutout, 1-0 at Wesleyan University on Saturday.

"I'm putting it out there for public consumption that our guys are just believing," said head coach Tyler Sheikh. "They're doing it without senior captain Tony Heredia who couldn't play all of his last season and our best player, senior captain Peder Bakken, who has been out since our fourth game.

"We know we could have tied or lost the games we've won and won or tied the games we lost. Every game we play we believe we have a chance to win, and we've made our own luck."

Bates (8-2-1, 4-2-1 NESCAC) got the better of Wesleyan (4-4-3, 1-3-3) despite the host Cardinals' 7-1 advantage in corner kicks and slight 11-10 edge in shots.

Junior goalkeeper David Goodstein (Bethesda, Md.) earned his fourth shutout of the season and Bates' fifth as a team with five saves.

The Bobcats threatened first when sophomore Ciaran Bardong (Manhasset, N.Y.) rifled a shot towards the net, but Wesleyan goaltender Liam Devanny thwarted the chance.

Cardinal Lucas Kimball looked to take advantage of a penalty kick at the 26:22 mark, but his hard shot towards the bottom left corner was denied by Goodstein.

Out of the break, Bates nearly scored a goal at the 52:19 mark. Keleher one-timed a failed Wesleyan clear, but Devanny got a hand on the ball, punching it up and over the crossbar to keep the contest scoreless.

Wesleyan had a chance to score after a penalty just outside the box, but Matthew Rubinstein's free kick at the 55:19 mark was blocked by a Bobcat defender.

On the same play, a Bates player was able to clear the ball past midfield, before Keleher headed the ball past a Cardinal defender and chipped the ball over Devanny into the left panel for the 1-0 lead. The goal was Keleher's third this season and his second game-winner.

The Cardinals' best opportunity for the equalizer came at the 81:56 mark. Nicholas Wallick redirected a cross from Mike Gallo, but Goodstein just got his hands on the header shot, corralling the ball to preserve the shutout.

Devanny made six saves in goal for Wesleyan, while Goodstein stopped all five shots faced in net for Bates.

The win pulls the Bobcats into a tie with Tufts for the third-most points in the NESCAC standings, with 13. Bates has played seven NESCAC games while Tufts has played six.

Bates returns home Tuesday night at 8pm for a non-conference game against Maine Maritime Academy on Garcelon Field.

"We hope to keep it going Tuesday night versus a well-coached and disciplined MMA team," said Sheikh, "and we can't wait to be back in front of the Bates faithful where the fans have been amazing and enjoyed a good show all season long."