It wasn’t pretty, but a stern defensive performance and a solitary goal from All-American defender Neil Bartholomay was enough for the No. 22-ranked Carleton Knights to secure an opening day win against the College of Wooster.
After lightning and torrential downpour cancelled the College of Wooster’s game the night before versus Elmhurst College, the Knights took the field under extremely humid and hot conditions. The heat affected the play on the field, with both teams finding it difficult to keep the ball for extended periods of play. However, it only took the Knights five minutes to create the best opportunity of the first half, with some intricate passing at the top of the box finding Sam Hayward streaking into the box with only the goalkeeper to beat. But the sophomore fired his shot just wide of the net to keep the game scoreless, and the score remained knotted at zero through halftime.
The goalless draw lasted only 93 seconds into the second half, as Carleton took the lead courtesy of senior Neil Bartholomay. An inswinging corner from senior Will Corcoran connected with the senior defender, but was denied by Wooster goalkeeper Andrew Beck. A goalmouth scramble ensued from Beck’s initial save, and the ball continued to bounce around the box until Bartholomay sent a left-footed volley into the roof of the net, past the outstretched arms of the Wooster goalkeeper.
The Knights continued to create opportunities, most notably from a Corcoran free kick that brought out a good save from Beck in goal. But as the game progressed the Fighting Scots began to create more chances that threatened Carleton’s lead. The slim one goal advantage was inches away from being squandered, but a goal line clearance from Hayward following a Wooster corner kick preserved the slender lead for the Knights. Despite their four second half corner kicks, Wooster were unable to convert on any of their chances, and the Knights were able to see out the game to register their first win of the season.
The Knights take on the Elmhurst Blue Jays tomorrow, September 1st, at 2 pm. These teams met last year in the second game of the season in Minnesota, with the Knights prevailing 2-1 in overtime.