by Josh Decker
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets used a strong performance Saturday afternoon to polish off a 1-0 victory over visiting No. 14 Ohio Dominican on homecoming weekend. The victory improves the Jackets’ record to 5-2-1 this season, including a solid 3-0 record at home.
“I thought the guys played hard and played together. When you get a shutout, it’s really important and it is a big lift for the backline,” head coach Brett Faro said.
From the opening kickoff, it was evident that it was going to be a tight contest. The teams traded possession throughout the first ten minutes of the match, and there weren’t any quality offensive chances for either side.
In the 11th minute, the Jackets’ held the ball in the final third of the pitch, which led to some sustained offensive pressure and a Cedarville free kick. Senior Andre Salviano stepped up to take the kick, and delivered a cross into the box that was grabbed by the Ohio Dominican goalkeeper.
Under a minute later, senior Mark Rowan headed the ball toward the goal, but it sailed up and over the crossbar.
While there were a lack of shots on goal, the Yellow Jackets continued to apply pressure to Ohio Dominican with set pieces, and in the 30th minute, Cedarville won its first corner kick.
The Panthers defended it well, but the Jackets’ continued to push, which led to Cedarville’s first shot on goal in the 33rd minute.
With the high stakes in this game, both teams started to get a little chippy in the final minutes of the first half. Cedarville went into the break still even with the visitors, but with a bit of momentum and some positive play to build off.
Entering the final 45 minutes, the Yellow Jackets continued to possess the ball well in the offensive third of the pitch, and the effort finally paid off as Cedarville broke the scoreless match.
The Jackets drew a foul just outside of the box, and on the ensuing free kick, Salviano stepped up and delivered the ball towards the net. The shot skipped through a trio of players and past the goalkeeper to give the Jackets the lead.
“One of our goals going to the game was to work harder than Ohio Dominican, and let the rest of the game take care of itself,” said senior Ben Rowan. “I think we did that really well.”
With 11 minutes remaining, Cedarville attacked in transition and nearly scored again, but the shot sailed into the hands of the Ohio Dominican goalkeeper.
Then in the 86th minute, the Panthers earned a corner kick. The Jackets defended the play well, and the ball went out of bounds harmlessly for a goal kick.
With Ohio Dominican needing an equalizer and applying pressure yet again, the Jackets’ goalkeeper Jared Zacharias stood strong in goal and punched the ball out of the box with only three minutes remaining to secure the homecoming victory for Cedarville.
“Super proud of the boy,” said senior defender Jonny Stephens who just returned back to the lineup. “Tonight was a great win. We’ve only had one clean sheet as a defensive unit, so we were really looking forward to getting one against Ohio Dominican.”
The Jackets return to action is Thursday, Oct. 7th at home against the University of Findlay. Kickoff for the G-MAC matchup is set for 7 p.m.
Josh Decker is a senior Sport Business Management major and a sports reporter for Cedars. He loves playing sports with friends, and spends much of his free time as a student assistant for the Cedarville men’s basketball team.