Facing a tragic loss with 35 seconds remaining in the game, a trio of seniors came through for the Wilmington College men’s soccer Saturday on Townsend Field at Williams Stadium.
Senior Nick Toney (Morrow, OH/Little Miami) scored the equalizer with 35 seconds remaining, and then senior Ethan Zimpfer (Botkins, OH/Botkins) headed home a free kick from senior Jesse Buhrman (Westlake, OH/Westlake) a little over two minutes into the overtime period for the 3-2 non-conference victory over Defiance.
“To come away with anything less than a win in this game, would have been a tragedy,” said Wilmington head coach Bud Lewis. “We certainly didn’t leave ourselves a lot of time left. Not to take anything away from Defiance, but we made a mistake early in the game. We unfortunately have a tendency to do that this year. But our guys really responded well. In the first half, I don’t think I have ever seen our team dominate another like that and not be rewarded. It wasn’t like their goalkeeper made great saves, it was frankly poor finishing; guys not being composed in front of the goal.”
Wilmington dominated play for nearly the entire 92 minutes, launching 40 shots to Defiance’s four. It was two misplays along the backline that led to both Yellow Jacket goals. Defiance took the quick lead just 79 seconds into the game.
Toney scored his first goal of the game as freshman Klei Zera (Gramsh, Albania) took a rebound off a missed shot to Toney, who beat the goalkeeper in the game’s 60th minute.
However, another misplay on the defensive end, helped Defiance reclaim the lead four minutes later. It looked as if it would be enough for the Yellow Jackets to escape Williams Stadium with the victory, but the senior trio salvaged the contest.
“(Wilmington) is a team that is getting better every game, there is no question,” said Lewis. “Hopefully we can learn a little about what it takes. The creative part of our game, holding the ball and get in dangerous scoring chances, we did that better than any team I have coached. From that standpoint, I am really pleased. It was very important win and now we need to string together a couple wins heading into conference play.”
Wilmington (3-5) travels to Richmond, Ind. 4 p.m. Wednesday to face Earlham in non-conference action.