Well, here we go again.
For the third year in a row, the Waynesburg University men’s soccer team will enter the last game of the regular season with a chance to qualify for the Presidents’ Athletic Conference playoffs. The first two games ended in heartbreak, and Wednesday’s game against Geneva gives Waynesburg a chance for a different outcome.
In 2017, the Yellow Jackets needed to win at Washington & Jefferson to qualify for the postseason. They lost, 3-1. The following year, Waynesburg again needed to beat the Presidents, this time at John F. Wiley Stadium. Under strange and, frankly, unfair circumstances, the Jackets lost again. Because of a conference rule (you can read more about that here), the Yellow Jackets had to beat W&J by three goals for the game to matter.
Waynesburg was desperate to score goals, and couldn’t play the game its way. We’ll never know what would have happened had this been a “win and in” scenario.
A win tonight over at John F. Wiley Stadium wouldn’t by any means ensure Waynesburg its first playoff berth since 2014. The Golden Tornadoes have one game left, Saturday at Westminster, who is in line to be the No. 1 seed in the PAC tournament. Still, there’s more than a good chance Geneva falls at Westminster. So if Waynesburg pulls it out Wednesday, things are looking up.
Not that getting a victory at Wiley won’t be an easy task. Geneva is three points ahead of Waynesburg in the standings, and the Jackets’ only two conference victories are over the two worst teams in the conference in St. Vincent and Thiel. Therefore, the Yellow Jackets don’t exactly have a dazzling resume.
Beating Geneva will be a challenge, but it’s the only thing in Waynesburg’s hands. Win tonight, and start thinking about the playoffs, which haven’t happened at the university in quite some time. Beyond soccer, a playoff berth would be a huge boost for an athletic program that hasn’t had a lot of success in recent years, particularly in the fall season.
And if these Jackets make the playoffs, you better believe they can make a run.
It sounds strange to say, given the fact that, up until last Wednesday, Waynesburg didn’t have a single solitary win in PAC play. But despite most games ending in losses or ties, the Jackets have had a chance to win beat every single PAC team they’ve played, with the exception of a 4-2 loss at W&J over fall break. Also over break, the aforementioned Westminster Titans had to settle for a tie in Greene County. If Waynesburg gets in, it will likely have to face Westminster again. Maybe the Jackets could close the deal in a rematch.
Anyway, back to the issue at hand. Waynesburg needs to win tonight, and it’s a movie we’ve seen before. The opening credits to 2019’s motion picture are already well in progress. Win tonight, and the Jackets begin to rewrite the ending. If that happens, the rest is up to Lady Luck.