The Cedarville men’s soccer team played their home opener Tuesday evening against 16th-ranked Tiffin University, playing the visitors to a draw, 1-1.
The Jackets struck first in the 27th minute with senior Connor Gilmour’s seventh goal of the season. Defender Joe Davison, a senior, was credited with the assist.
Although the Jackets outshot the Dragons 5-3 in the first half, the Dragons outshot the Jackets 11-3 in the second half. Despite the low shot count, the Jacket’s offense controlled the midfield and created two great chances. In the 64th minute freshman midfielder Derek Braak broke free and fired a shot that was saved by the keeper.
Ten minutes later, Gilmour pounded a ball that went off the post and out of bounds. Additionally, the Jacket’s defense and midfield held off an elite, undefeated team, until Tiffin forward Matthew Tait equalized the game with nine minutes to go.
The Jackets’ defenders Davison, sophomore Sean Reilly, senior Paul Messerly, and senior Jared Newman contained Tait and the Dragons’ offense throughout regulation and overtime, refusing to lose focus when the Dragons tied the game. Midfielders for the Jackets, sophomore Kyle Nikerle, senior Zach Harris, junior John Brown, and freshman Cole Butuad, provided gritty play and clean passing throughout the game, winning balls and throw-ins regularly. Goalkeeper Paulo Pinto, a junior, was outstanding in the net, making six saves.
Pinto and transfer defenseman Bradley Schluter, also a junior, both made plays to save the game. In the 89th minute, Pinto denied a strike from Dragon’s defenseman Oliver Verdult. But a moment later Schluter used his head to clear the ball off the goal line, forcing overtime in dramatic fashion.
College soccer plays two ten-minute, sudden-death overtimes if the 90 minute game ends in a draw. It was in these final periods that John Schwien, a sophomore transfer midfielder from Gordon College, gave Tiffin all they could handle. Schwien shined in both overtime periods, cutting, sliding and distributing the ball to his teammates.
In the 106th minute, following a corner kick from junior midfielder Aaron Plummer, Schwien dazzled his way into the box and flicked a shot towards the top right corner, but Tiffin keeper Kyle Karagitz got his hands to the ball to make the save and preserve the tie.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw. Tiffin moves to 3-0-2 while the Jackets sit at 4-1-1. Cedarville takes on Davis & Elkins College at home 6 p.m. Sept. 19.
Dave Guidone is a senior social studies education major and sports reporter for Cedars. His hobbies include eating, snacking, shooting hoops and laughing. Hebrews 13:8.