COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Capital University men's soccer team continued its strong play with its third straight victory, defeating the Heidelberg University Student Princes, 2-0, on Wednesday night at Bernlohr Stadium. The victory ensures at least one home contest in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament and pushes Capital's conference record to 6-1-1.
The Crusaders came out aggressively on both sides on the ball, attacking on offense and pressuring the Student Princes on the other side of the pitch. Capital (8-8-2, 6-1-1 OAC) rang the post inside the first six minutes, signaling that the Crusaders were hunting for goals. Then, they came.
Capital's first goal was a beauty that featured a direct connection between sophomore goalkeeper Justin Niswonger (Centerville, Ohio) and senior defenseman Josh Spaw. Niswonger collected the uncommon keeper assist when he lined up for a free kick from midfield. Niswonger blasted a strike to the nearside post where Spaw was waiting and open. Spaw delivered a header that made its way inside the post to give Capital an early 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.
For Niswonger, it served as his second assist of the season. He recorded his first of the season against Marietta last week in a 6-3 road victory. Niswonger also posted an assist last year as a freshman on the game-winning goal against Transylvania University.
Heidelberg (6-8-4, 4-3-1 OAC) had its fair share of opportunities to get on the board but its shots sailed wide from the likes of Andres Isea, Kyle Simpson and Kiki Alvarado. The Student Princes finished the first half with eight shots in the first half. Heidelberg ended the half with another quality scoring chance when Capital was called for a foul, but the ensuing shot off the free kick sailed high of the crossbar to end the half.
Capital's second goal again came following a Heidelberg foul and off of a free kick. Midway through the 51st minute, Jacob Pulliam (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North) booted a long pass from the near side of the field toward the far post. Waiting was a trio of Crusaders, but Cheyn Roux (Davidson, N.C.) emerged with the header that sent in Capital's second goal.
Niswonger also answered the call when Heidelberg managed to put shots on frame. In the second half, a yellow card was issued to Capital prompting a free kick. Porus Shroff shot it toward the far post where Niswonger made a diving save to his left. It was one of two stops he made in the victory.
The Crusaders clamped down on defense in the second half, allowing just three shot attempts to the Student Princes.
Capital's victory seals at least one home game for the Crusaders in the upcoming Ohio Athletic Conference Men's Soccer Tournament. The Crusaders currently hold down the No. 2 seed for the tournament with one match left to play. Capital will vie for a first-round bye when they host Baldwin Wallace University this Saturday at 4 p.m. With a win, Capital will lock up a bye in the first round plus a home contest in the semi-final round.
Saturday marks the Crusaders' regular-season finale as well as Senior Day. Pregame ceremonies will begin at approximately 3:45 p.m. from Bernlohr Stadium.