The Cedarville men’s soccer team won the G-MAC tournament Saturday for the third straight year, defeating Alderson Broaddus University 1-1, (4-2).
Cedarville tied the game with less than 20 minutes left. No goals would be scored for the rest of regulation and the two overtime periods. The game, and the conference tournament championship, went into penalty kicks.
The visitors went first. Alec Andall of Alderson Broaddus took the first penalty kick, but his attempt went over the bar. Senior Connor Gilmour buried his attempt into the right corner to put the home team up. The next Alderson Broaddus attempt was blocked by junior Paulo Pinto initially, but it was judged that he stepped over the line too early. On the re-take, the Battlers evened the score. Sophomore midfielder John Schwien stepped up to take the second penalty, tucking a shot past the keeper into the left corner.
“I was nervous, but I was excited to help our team advance,” Schwien said.
With the Jackets up 2-1, Pinto stopped another shot. Junior midfielder Joel Twinem calmly tucked his shot into the left corner and gave the Jackets a 3-1 lead.
With the shootout providing five attempts per team, and the Jackets leading 3-2, junior midfielder Jon Brown stepped up and delivered, scoring his penalty kick and sealing the conference championship three-peat.
Before the penalty kicks
Early on, it looked like the Alderson Broadus Battlers would steal the game. As the match began, Gilmour, Cedarville’s leading scorer, went down on a challenge. While the Jackets expected a call, Alderson Broaddus played a long through-ball to Marco Profumo who chased it down and scored in the first minute of the game.
This was the earliest goal the Jackets had conceded all season.
Coach Brett Faro said, “It would have been really easy to say, ‘Today is not our day.’”
The Jackets faced an uphill battle against a team they had already lost to in the regular season. The Battlers spoiled Cedarville’s homecoming game in October, defeating the Jackets 4-2.
“I thought it was hard for us. We put ourselves into a hole 20 seconds into the game,” Faro said. “To dig out of that is not easy. But I thought we showed a lot of character, I thought we showed a lot of heart. We chipped away little by little as much as we could.”
The Battlers held the lead through the first half. The best chance the Jackets had was a move into the box in the 39th minute. Senior forward Zach Harris shuttled a backwards pass to Gilmour who fed the ball to freshman Derek Braak, who missed wide. Cedarville went into the half down by one.
The second half was a rugged battle with plenty of fouls and three yellow cards. With about 30 minutes left in the contest Alderson Broaddus packed it in and the Jackets spent the rest of the game on the attack.
In the 60th minute, Alderson Broaddus keeper Ricard Lao came up with a huge save to keep the game 1-0, stopping a rocket volley from Twinem.
The Jackets won corners in the 63rd and 65th minute but were unable to capitalize.
It wasn’t until the 73rd minute when the Jackets got on the board. Schwien ripped a shot with his right foot to the top of the net for his first goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1.
With the score leveled in the 87th minute Twinem provided one more chance in the box for the Jackets, yet the Battlers’ keeper was able to clear the ball off the line at the last minute.
Cedarville had nine corner kicks to the Battlers’ one, but the home team was unable to capitalize on any of them.
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.