Crusaders Host Baldwin Wallace in OAC Quarterfinal

Senior Nick Eley leads the Capital University men's soccer team with 14 points entering OAC Tournament play. (Jeff Mills photo).
Senior Nick Eley leads the Capital University men's soccer team with 14 points entering OAC Tournament play. (Jeff Mills photo).

 

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The Capital University men's soccer team begins postseason play Monday at 2 p.m. against Baldwin Wallace in an Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal match at Bernlohr Stadium.

 

Capital is the tournament's fourth seed, while Baldwin Wallace is the No. 5 seed. The winner of Monday's match moves on to face No. 1 seed and regular season champion Ohio Northern, an NCAA finalist last season, on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Ada.

 

The Crusaders (8-7-3 overall, 5-4 OAC) saw their three-match winning streak come to an end Saturday with a 2-1 setback against Otterbein. Ten minutes senior Zach Inman (Groveport, Ohio) took a pass from classmate Joe Alecusan (Hilliard, Ohio) and scored to put Capital ahead 1-0, the Cardinals tallied twice in a three-minute span to take the lead for good. The Crusaders outshot Otterbein 11-9 and finished with a 5-4 advantage in corner kicks.

 

Senior midfielder Nick Eley (Pickerington, Ohio) leads the Capital offense with six goals and two assists for 14 points. The two-time honorable mention All-OAC selection scored what proved to be the game-winner in the Crusaders' 4-0 victory over Marietta on Oct. 23.

 

Freshman forward Luke Bobst (Cincinnati, Ohio) is second on the team with six points (two goals, two assists). Bobst tallied a pair of game-winning goals during the regular season – one against Wittenberg to open the season on Sept. 1 and another against Defiance on Sept. 14.

 

Junior captain/midfielder R.G. Florey (Westerville, Ohio) and senior forward Tim McCarthy (Centerville, Ohio) enter the postseason with two goals and an assist apiece, while Inman and sophomore defender Hunter Booth (Liberty Township, Ohio) each have a pair of goals.

 

Senior goalkeeper Bob Weisgarber (Columbus, Ohio) was among the OAC's best goalkeepers during the regular season. The co-captain currently leads the league in save percentage (.822) and is tied for second in saves (88). Weisgarber has an 8-6-3 mark entering postseason play with 6.5 shutouts to his name.

 

The Crusaders are making their eighth straight appearance in the OAC Tournament. The team has been eliminated in the quarterfinals in each of the last three seasons, including a 3-2 setback at Heidelberg a season ago. After Florey stunned the Student Princes with a goal off a set piece in the fourth minute, Heidelberg tallied three unanswered goals during a seven-minute span early in the first half to take control of the contest. Capital fought back in the second half, getting a goal from McCarthy in the 65th, but was unable to find its equalizer.

 

Baldwin Wallace (7-10-3 overall, 5-4 OAC), which knocked off the Crusaders in the 2011 OAC Tournament quarterfinals, snapped a three-match losing streak Saturday with a 2-0 home victory over Marietta. Cody Smith and Trey Arney tallied goals just over two minutes apart early in the second half to lead the Yellow Jackets, who outshot the Pioneers 19-9. Goalkeeper Tyler Beaton made four saves to record his fourth shutout of the season.

 

Michael Brennan leads the Baldwin Wallace offense, entering postseason play with six goals and three assists for a team-best 15 points. Ben Deighton (three goals, one assist) and Zach Smith (two goals, three assists) each have seven points entering the tournament. Six other players have registered five or six points.

 

Beaton leads the league with 94 saves and enters the postseason with a 7-7-2 record. He also ranks among conference leaders in save percentage (.810) and goals against average (1.27).

 

The Yellow Jackets are making their third straight appearance in the OAC Tournament. Baldwin Wallace reached the semifinals in each year from 2009-11 before being disqualified from postseason play in 2012 due to investigation of an NCAA violation at the institution. The Yellow Jackets earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Touranment in 2011, falling 2-1 in the first round against Oneonta (N.Y.) State.

 

Baldwin Wallace will be making its second straight trip to Bernlohr Stadium this season. The Crusaders defeated the Yellow Jackets 1-0 on Oct. 26 thanks to a goal in the 18th minute by freshman midfielder Jacob Pulliam (Westerville, Ohio). Capital outshot BW 15-10 and held a 7-3 edge in corner kicks.