by Josh Decker
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets put together a hard-fought performance to defeat visiting G-MAC rivals Findlay 2-1 Thursday night. The Jackets’ record now stands at 6-2-1, including a solid 4-0 record at home.
“There are certainly some things we need to grow and mature in, but I was really proud of the fight,” said head coach Brett Faro. “Happy with the way the guys handled the game.”
Cedarville gained momentum early with offensive pressure in the first couple of minutes that resulted in a free-kick for the Jackets. Senior Andre Salviano stepped up to drill a ball toward the net that was scooped up by the Findlay goalkeeper.
Both teams then traded possession and looked to build an attack, though no quality chances materialized.
Then in the 18th minute, senior Gui Fernandes tracked down a ball heading to the corner of the pitch, gained offensive control, and delivered a strike into the back of the net to give Cedarville the first goal of the game and a 1-0 lead.
The Jackets’ momentum was short-lived, however, as Findlay managed to regroup and score a goal only a minute later to level the score at one apiece.
Despite surrendering the goal, Cedarville went back to work, working the ball around the pitch and maintaining possession. An offensive attack in the final third of the pitch resulted in two corner kicks for the Jackets, but the Oilers defended the chances well.
With 20 minutes remaining in the first half, Cedarville forced a turnover and quickly countered in transition. A string of excellent passes gave Andy Volk a great look on goal, but Findlay’s goalkeeper made the stop.
In the 34th minute, a throw-in by the Yellow Jackets gave senior defender Jonny Stephens a great opportunity, but the header lifted just high over the net.
Cedarville continued to get quality offensive chances, including a couple more corner kicks.
With only 20 seconds left in the half, Salviano was whistled for a foul and given a yellow card, and the Jackets entered the break knotted with Findlay 1-1.
The second half began with both sides exchanging possession and offensive opportunities.
In the 60th minute, a sustained offensive attack and good pass gave Ben Rowan a good look on goal, but the shot missed wide.
Perhaps the Yellow Jackets’ best offensive sequence in the half occurred only a minute later when Volk centered a pass into the box and Fernandes went up for the header, which he just missed.
Then in the 68th minute, the Jackets’ persistence paid off when good defensive pressure by Eli Schmidt and Trey McBride led to an Oiler turnover.
Cedarville moved the ball into the final attacking third of the pitch, and a beautiful cross by Victor Pomelli to Pedro Alvares was headed into the goal to give the Jackets a commanding 2-1 lead in the game.
Only three minutes later, Cedarville used the momentum from the goal to earn another free-kick. The scoring chance led to a shot that bounced off the goalpost to keep it a one goal match.
Cedarville goalkeeper Jared Zacharias then made a great save in the 73rd minute to protect the Jackets’ lead, and solid defending went on to be the difference as the home team battled to the 2-1 victory.
“I thought our win was well-deserved and we played for each other,” said Schmidt. “I don’t think it was our best game at our highest level, but the fight was still there.”
The Yellow Jackets return to action on Saturday, Oct. 9 in another home match against Malone University. Kickoff for the G-MAC clash is set for 5 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.