For the third time in six games this season, the Waynesburg University men’s soccer team went to overtime.
As was the case with the first two overtime games, the Yellow Jackets were unable to come away with a win Tuesday, Sept. 19, at John F. Wiley Stadium, when they squandered a 2-0 second-half lead against Pitt-Greensburg, settling for a 2-2 draw in double overtime.
Coming into this season, a key for the Yellow Jackets to improve upon their 4-12-1 record from a year ago is their ability to close out games. In 2016, the Yellow Jackets won just one of their four overtime contests. So far this year, Waynesburg has a record of 0-2-1 in overtime games.
Waynesburg drew first blood just ten minutes into the contest with sophomore midfielder Nate Kummer’s second goal of the season. It would not take long for the Jackets to add to their lead. Less than six minutes after Kummer’s strike, freshman forward Thomas Drake scored his team-leading third goal of the season, which was assisted by sophomore midfielder Nate Biondi, putting Waynesburg ahead 2-0 within the first 20 minutes of play.
Drake said quality attacking play led to his goal.
“We had a really good break from [the attacking] half,” Drake said. “The ball was played down the left-hand side to Biondi, and he crossed it in. I managed… sort of in an awkward place, to get my head and knee to it at the same time, and got it into the back of the net.”
The Jackets outshot the Bobcats 9-6 in the first half, while also posting a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks and only having two fouls to Pitt-Greensburg’s six.
About 20 minutes into the second half, the Bobcats got on the board with a goal by freshman Dylan DeRoss, making it 2-1. Just as it started to look like Waynesburg would hold on, with just 54 seconds remaining in regulation, junior midfielder Jared Jenkins beat Jackets goalkeeper James Snyder to tie the game and send the contest to overtime.
“It was a deep ball that came in, and our defender went to go take a touch to trap it,” Snyder said. “The defense came back; we were able to cover pretty well. It was really just a [one vs. three], and one of their trailing guys came in. They were able to get the ball back to [Jenkins], and as he took a shot, it ended up deflecting off of one of our players and just went to the opposite direction.”
The junior keeper allowed two goals on the night, saving four shots.
Pitt-Greensburg outshot Waynesburg 6-1 in the second half. Despite outshooting the Panthers 10-0 in two ten-minute overtime periods, the Yellow Jackets could not break through for a winning goal and had to settle for a draw.
For head coach Brad Heethuis, Waynesburg did not build on what made it effective in the second half.
“We just kind of stopped playing our game,” Heethuis said. “We were very successful in the first half, and for some reason, we did not continue with what was going on. [We] stopped finding our [center midfielders], who were dictating play, and stopped really passing the ball. We broke down a little bit, and [Pitt-Greensburg] started taking it to us a little bit.”
For Heethuis, the disappointing result will serve as a learning experience for his team.
“We’ll go back and look at the [game film] here,” Heethuis said. “It’ll tell a lot. We have to teach some more decision-making in those final five, 10 minutes, and be able to see a game out. That’s the biggest thing.”
Waynesburg’s next contest will be at John F. Wiley Stadium Saturday, Sept. 23, against Transylvania at 1 p.m.