Marietta College men’s soccer outlasts Heidelberg in OAC Tournament action
Pioneers on to semifinals after nail-biter
MARIETTA – If Cole Pappas had shot a little bit high, the soccer ball probably would have cleared Pike Street and landed near Don Drumm Stadium.
That’s how hard the 5-foot-7 freshman midfielder struck it with 4 minutes and 3 seconds remaining in the second overtime.
But Pappas was right on target, and Marietta College claimed a thrilling 1-0 triumph over Heidelberg University in an Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament opening round match at Marietta Field on Halloween Monday afternoon.
“I saw an opportunity. The ball came into…I think it was Taylor (Reasoner),” said Pappas of the golden goal. “He got his head on it, flicked it on. I had an opportunity, and I buried it.”
Luke Maher was also credited with an assist on Pappas’ goal, which came in the 106th minute of the contest. Keeper Tyler Sholl got the clean sheet with a little help from his defender friends’ Brent Huck, Noah Sellers, Noah Laliberty, Sebastian Ziaja, and Mayer.
Sholl finished with three saves in the “pitch” duel.
With the victory, the Pioneer booters (11-8-1) get to play in November and advance to a 4 p.m. Wednesday semifinal at top-seeded John Carroll University.
“What a grind-out game,” said MC head coach Joe Bergin. “We worked very hard, trying to create things. We had to defend like crazy. We never could get a ton of offense going, because of their system and the way it worked.”
Marietta actually was outshot by the Student Princes, 10-7.
Heidelberg, which dropped a 3-0 decision to Marietta in Tiffin on Oct. 22, exited with a 7-10-1 mark. Goalie Jake Kress finished with three saves, and the Berg back line of Kyle Boone, Greg Raimondo, Anthony Raimondo, Kris Priddy was solid.
Probably Heidelberg’s best chance to put a ball in the back of the net occurred in the 59th minute of the second half of regulation. Awarded an indirect kick by the refs inside the penalty area due to a pass back to the keeper infraction, the Student Princes were unable to capitalize as their kicker cleared the crossbar on his boot.
“It really wasn’t a call that should have been made,” Bergin said. “But it was made and we had to deal with it.
“Our guy shanked it, so that’s not considered a pass back. That usually doesn’t get called. They’re inside the box. Now, the advantage there is that it’s indirect.”
In other words, the ball had to touch someone first, and Marietta could defend with a wall of players.
Other than that one IK, the defenses from both schools dominated the match, and there weren’t really any other close goal calls.
Late in the second OT, MC went on the attack on the left side of the pitch. On a sideline throw-in, an HU defender headed the ball towards midfield. Maher in turn headed it to the top of the 18-yard box where Reasoner did the same to the top right corner of the six-yard box. Surging on goal from the right flank, Pappas got a good look and didn’t miss, blasting the ball right-footed inside the near post in the upper corner.
Kress dove to his left to try to make the save — but too late.
“Cole just hammered it, a full volley,” Bergin said. “That was either going into the net or over the street. He was leaving nothing to chance. The poor keeper had no chance. It took a goal like that to finish this game off.”
Pappas agreed and added, “We were working our butts off the entire game.”
“There wasn’t much to separate either team,” he contined. “Heidelberg played fantastic. Props to them. But we were lucky enough to come out the victor. I’m just so excited.”
Every Pioneer was.
“It was just awesome to get a goal like that late,” Huck said. “And, it was good to get a shutout. That’s impressive.
“Coming off the win against (nationally ranked) ONU (last Friday), that was our springboard. We bounced off of it, and this is another good win (vs. Heidelberg). Springboard off of it, move forward to Wednesday. We’ll see who we end up playing.”