MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Last week, in anticipation of Tuesday's heat and huminity, the Eastern Connecticut State University-Wesleyan University men's soccer game was moved back three hours to a nighttime start.
Regardless of the time change, the contest was played, nonetheless, in temperatures still exceeding 80 degrees. And like the weather, the Warriors remained hot.
After scoring one goal in his first two seasons at Eastern, senior defender Cooper D'Ambrosio (Andover) scored the only goal of the match for the second straight game in the Warriors' 1-0 non-conference victory over Wesleyan University at Citrin Field.
The shutout win is the third straight for Eastern (3-0-0) and freshman keeper Ryan Murphy (Cromwell). Wesleyan, which returned eight starters from last year's 8-5-3 team, was playing its season-opener.
Wesleyan outshot Eastern, 17-7, and compiled a 13-2 advantage in corner kicks, but D'Ambrosio's free kick of better than 20 yards 13 minutes into the second half held up. Murphy made all five of his saves in the second half and Wesleyan junior keeper Eric Jasinski made all three of his in the first half in his first career start.
Murphy's best save of the night came with 13 minutes left in the contest as he stopped a point-blank shot by Cardinal junior Danny Rubenstein from 12 yards out on the left side, preserving the victory.
Prior to D'Ambrosio's strike, Eastern's best opportunity to score came midway through the second half soon after a corner kick, but Jasinski leaped to punch the Warriors' bid over the crossbar.
D'Ambrosio has scored goals on both of his shots this year. This past Saturday night, he gave the Warriors a 1-0 win over No. 15-ranked Muhlenberg when he scored from 15 yards with one second left in sudden death overtime.
At left: Gavin Neuendorf
The 1-0 finish is the third in the last four years between the programs, the Warriors having won two. Until Tuesday, Eastern had won only once in the previous six matches (1-4-1) against Wesleyan on the Cardinals' home field.
Eastern hosts Ramapo College Saturday and Roger Williams University Sunday in 2 p.m. non-conference matches at Nevers Field.