Mills’ heroics give Jackets first conference win

Waynesburg beats St. Vincent, 1-0, in OT

It looked all too familiar. 

Four times, the Waynesburg University men’s soccer team had gone to overtime this season, and none of those games ended in a positive result. 

Wednesday’s game against St. Vincent was scoreless after 90 minutes, so OT was necessary once again. 

This time, however, Waynesburg closed the deal. Ryan Mills headed in a corner by Nate Kummer to give the Jackets [4-8-3, 1-2-3] a golden goal, and their first Presidents’ Athletic Conference win of the season. 

Mills took advantage of a key moment that happened late in the second half. In the 79th minute, St. Vincent’s [2-11-2, 1-3-1] Eduardo Richa received a red card, taking the Bearcats down to 10 men. 

“I figured because they were already down a man, I would go down in the box, because I probably wasn’t going to be marked,” Mills said. “Kumer headed the ball to me, and I hit it in. So that was pretty much it.”

Waynesburg controlled the pace for most of the afternoon, outshooting the Bearcats, 10-3, in the first half and 8-6 in the second. Goalkeeper Zachary Gibbons kept St. Vincent in the game with nine saves. Although Waynesburg head coach Brad Heethuis was happy with the win, he feels his team has a lot to work on going forward.

“Anytime you go on the road in the PAC, it’s going to be tough to get three points,” Heethuis said. “So we’re happy with that. I thought we played ok keeping possession of the ball. We did not finish our chances when we needed to. With that being said, we got the W, and got out of there with the result we needed.”

Although Waynesburg missed some chances offensively, the defense made up for it, posting its first shutout of 2019. The back line made life easier for goalkeeper Adam Dolan, who only had to make three saves. 

“We had a shutout. First one of the year,” Heethuis said. “If our back line can continue to play like that, I like our chances Saturday and going forward.”

The Jackets have two games left, both of which are at home. Waynesburg takes on Thiel at John F. Wiley Stadium Saturday at 8 p.m., and wraps up the regular season next Wednesday night against Geneva. 

“It’s going to be nice having two home games,” Heethuis said. “Senior night Saturday, and then Geneva at home next Wednesday. It’ll be nice to have the home crowd helping us out.”

For Mills, playing in Greene County raises Jackets’ level of play, especially during night games.

“It’s huge that we have two home games,” Mills said. “We play a lot better when we’re at home under the lights. We’re kind of just taking it game by game.”

To have any chance at the postseason, Waynesburg needs beat both Thiel and Geneva. The Jackets are six points behind Geneva and four behind Grove City, who occupy the third and fourth playoff spots. Mills said a key will be to not consume themselves with other PAC teams.

“Once we start worrying about what other teams are doing and looking ahead, it starts to get in our heads and we don’t perform as well,” he said. 

Although the win wasn’t pretty, Heethuis knows the Jackets finally got their desired result Wednesday.

“I was happy to get the win,” he said. “It’s never going to be easy, but [we’re] also not satisfied. We have some things to work on, and we’ll do that here tomorrow and on Friday. We have Thiel coming to town Saturday, and we need to do the same thing. Get the W.”