WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Capital University Men's Soccer not only won their ninth straight match, but capped off a successful Saturday sweep with its 1-0 victory over rival Otterbein University at Memorial Stadium. The freshman connection of Andrew McEwan and Tristan Bentley connected late in the second to pair well with another clean sheet delivered by goalkeeper Justin Niswonger.
Regionally-ranked Capital improves their overall record to 9-1 and extends its current winning streak to nine matches. More importantly, they start their conference season strong with a win in its first OAC match. Otterbein fell to 5-3 overall with the loss.
Despite the goal coming late in the second half, Capital preceded that with a strong offensive showing in the first half that resulted in eight shots taken to Otterbein's four. The intensity picked up in the second half, where junior goaltender Justin Niswonger (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) would be needed to step up between the pipes.
A bulk of the action came in the second half, as did Cap's first goal of the match. After a foul was called after Capital crossed midfield, Greg Knox sent a free kick into the box to be punched out by the Cardinals' goalkeeper. Freshman Tristan Bentley (Cincinnati, Ohio/Archbishop McNicholas) corralled the loose ball and delivered a near-perfect feed back into the heart of the Otterbein defense. On the other end of the pass, fellow freshman Andrew McEwen (Cincinnati, Ohio/Lakota West) blasted a header just out of the reach of Collin Hoffmann, getting Capital on the board just before the turn of the 69th minute.
The goal was McEwan's first of his collegiate career. For both he and Bentley, it served as both of their first career points.
Prior to the goal, the Capital defense was tested often as Otterbein mounted pressure with its offensive attack. Niswonger made three saves and watched another shot land wide of the cage prior to the goal being scored.
After the goal, Otterbein kept up the pressure but failed to find the back of the net. With less than six minutes remaining, Niswonger answered the call by making a key cross-body save toward the far post. Coming off of a foul, Otterbein passed off the free kick toward the top-center of the box where Pau Piang delivered a strike toward the post. Niswonger dove to his right and extended his left arm to deflect the shot and keep the cage clean. He was immediately challenged again with another pass sent into the box, which he scooped up before it could be redirected.
Capital then packed in the defense and did not allow another quality scoring opportunity for the duration of the match, leading to the win.
Niswonger, the reigning OAC Men's Soccer Player of the Week, finished with six saves against the Cardinals. His performance marked the fourth consecutive shutout against the opposition and sixth of the season. He has now made 13 saves over his last two matches and 27 on the year.
Capital will now prepare for back-to-back home matches, beginning with Wilmington College on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Bernlohr Stadium.
|Andrew McEwan scores his first collegiate goal,
and a game-winner!
|Postgame interview with Andrew McEwan
and Justin Niswonger.