After losing to Mount Aloysius 1-0 the prior night, the Waynesburg University men’s soccer team played host to Muskingum University Saturday, Sept. 16. Despite tying the game late in the second half, the Yellow Jackets dropped the contest 3:26 into the overtime period 2-1.
While both teams had many opportunities throughout the first half, with Muskingum having six corner kicks and Waynesburg having three, both teams were unable to capitalize. The game entered halftime in a scoreless tie. Muskingum mustered eight shots in the opening half, while Waynesburg managed four.
Within the first 10 minutes of the second half, a throw-in from the Muskies tipped off of several Waynesburg defenders and popped out right in front of the net, allowing Muskingum sophomore Drew Wise to score on the rebound to break the tie.
The aggressive game continued, as sophomore defenseman Sean McCann connected with a physical slide tackle on Wise that led to center referee Corey Pentz issuing a red card to McCann, ejecting him from the game.
“I think I missed a tackle,” said McCann. “I don’t believe it was a red. It was my first foul of the game. Maybe it was just the emotions of the game and the ref got caught up.”
Following the red card, Waynesburg continued to pound the ball in Muskingum territory. After missing on a few close opportunities in the second half, the Yellow Jackets finally got on the board in the 79th minute as sophomore midfielder Justin Buberl scored on a header, his first goal of the season, which was assisted by Sisler on a throw-in.
“We just know we have to come out and move the ball,” said Buberl. “We knew that we could beat them down [Sisler’s] side…[and that] would work for us most of the time.”
That goal would be the final one of regulation, as the two teams would go to overtime.
Waynesburg created a scoring opportunity 3:01 into the overtime period, as junior midfielder Sam Almeter crushed a ball off the crossbar. Unfortunately for Waynesburg, Muskingum immediately rebounded, came down the field and Muskie freshman midfielder Johnny Aisthorpe buried a shot past Yellow Jacket freshman goalkeeper Adam Dolan to end the game just 25 seconds after Waynesburg’s scoring opportunity. The goal was Aisthorpe’s sixth in five games.
In the game, Muskingum had 16 fouls and three yellow cards. Waynesburg had 13 fouls and McCann’s red card.
The Yellow Jackets were outshot overall 19-11 on the evening and the Muskies managed six shots on frame compared to Waynesburg’s four.
Despite the team’s three losses in the first five games, the hard work and challenges this team face are not seen by the average observer, according to head coach Brad Heethuis. Sixteen of the 23 members of the squad consist of freshmen and sophomores, and seven of the 11 typical starters are also in that category.
“We ask most freshman and sophomores to play a big role and they step up,” said head coach Brad Heethuis. “They get a lot of experience…and they’re ready to go.”
The team has managed to keep games close, even in losses. All three losses so far this season have been by one goal. For such a young team, little aspects of its gameplay need to be tweaked to propel them to the winning side of upcoming competitions, according to Heethuis.
“We just have to learn from the losses and build on them,” he said. “I think we’ve got the tools and we’ve got the pieces. It’s now putting them together. It’s still early in the year. We’ll figure it out.”
Waynesburg’s next matchup will be against Pitt Greensburg Tuesday, Sept. 19 at John F. Wiley Stadium.