By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Men's Soccer kept its hot start to the season rolling on Wednesday night in a grind of a game against Marietta College. The Pioneers played a physical game and never backed down from the Crusaders' challenge but in the end, Capital was able to hang on to a 2-1 win to improve to 10-2 overall this season, 4-0 in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
It was clear from the beginning that Marietta would not let the Crusaders get anything easily as the two sides swapped possession and fouls. However, the Crusaders were more successful at capitalizing on their possession with three shots in the first eight minutes.
That pressure paid off in the 10th minute when after a Marietta turnover, keeper Logan Wiedman was able to start the Capital attack from the backline. Wiedman sent a booming kick forward into the middle of the field and to Daniel Bundschuh. The senior then headed the ball forward and into the pach of goal-scoring machine Chewy Gordon. The electric forward then veered to his left to let a shot rip and the left-footed strike from 20 yards out beat Marietta's keeper and slotted itself into the right corner of the goal. The score was Gordon's 16th of the season.
Just eight minutes later, the Crusaders increased their lead to 2-0 with Nick Scharfenberger's first career goal. After a foul just outside of the penalty area gave Marietta a threatening chance, the Crusaders were able to clear the ball downfield on the counter. As Scharfenberger controlled the ball near midfield he found junior Jamie Robson with space in the middle of the field and made an incisive run into the Marietta box. Sharfenberger then fired a shot that Marietta's keeper just got his hands on to stop but the ball came right back out to the sophomore and the Louisville native looped the rebound into the back of the net.
The Pioneers are not a team to lay down though and Marietta responded just three minutes later. A free kick near midfield gave the Pioneers a chance to send the ball deep into Capital territory. The Crusaders had a chance to clear the ball but the defender could not get enough power behind his clearance and Tom Sloan stole the ball back from Capital. Sloan then shifted to his right to find space to shoot and ripped a shot from 25 yards out that beat Wiedman and whizzed past the keeper's right hand.
The Pioneers showed the fight they have exhibited all season to stay in the game as each of their past three defeats came by one goal. Each side attempted two more shots before the end of the first half with the Crusaders going into the break with a 9-6 lead in shots taken.
As the second half began, the Capital defense tightened the screws on Marietta as the Pioneers were not able to get a second-half shot away until almost half an hour had ticked away. The Crusaders attempted five shots in that span, three of which required saves from Dakota Penquite to prevent the Capital lead from growing. The Crusaders took seven second-half shots to Marietta's three and finished the game with a 16-9 lead in that category.
Penquite was challenged all night in the Marietta goal and made right saves while allowing the two Capital scores. Wiedman made two saves in goal for Capital.
Capital, the only OAC team that is undefeated in conference play, will travel to the University of Mount Union on Saturday, Oct. 13 to take on the Purple Raiders in the first of Capital's three remaining road contests. Kickoff in Alliance is scheduled for 1 p.m.