September 25, 2023

On Sept. 26, the Men’s Soccer Team returned home for a striking win against the Earlham College Quakers in their second win of the season. The Tigers won with a 4-1 final.

The first half started off with shots and corner kicks left and right from both teams, but it was not long until the Tigers scored. Only 13 minutes into the half, Austin Lewis, ’19, snuck one past the goalie with an assist from Nick Togliatti, ’21, making it Lewis’ third goal of the season. Three minutes and 30 seconds later, Togliatti scored his first goal of the season with help from David Quayle, ’21, leading the Quakers 2-0.

Shortly after that, River Banks, ’20jo, took a rough hit and was pulled off, with Nick Foley, ‘18, being subbed in as his replacement. There was a shot taken by Quayle that was saved by the Earlham keeper. Then head coach Dwight Burgess decided to switch it up and make nine simultaneous substitutions.

“First, we’ve been decimated by injuries and illnesses this season requiring us to rely on junior varsity and practice squad players to fill out our line-up,” Burgess said. “And that’s meant a lot of ups and downs. So, for our younger and less experienced guys to go out and earn a hard-fought victory is truly rewarding. Secondly, the Earlham match provided a chance to get some of the players we’ve been missing back on the field for limited minutes, which helps us evaluate their recovery process and better determine when they will again be ready to go.”

The change-up paid off, as Sam Bechtel, ’20, made an unassisted goal that squeaked right by Earlham’s keeper. That was Bechtel’s second goal of the season, which he followed up with another shot that was saved. Ending the half, the Tigers were up by three and ready for the second half.

As the game started back up, Wittenberg switched their goalie, putting in Harrison VanTilburg, ’21, and taking out Jack Snider, ‘19. Together, VanTilburg and Snider had a total of five saves on goal for the game. The Tigers then made several more attempts at scoring, as Alberto Zaragoza, ’19, flicked a header that hit the crossbar. Alex Sheppard, ’20, and Bechtel both took shots that were blocked and saved.

Ross Angelo, ’20, had a corner kick and then took a shot at the goal that was saved. This was then followed by shots taken by Christian Randazzo, ’19, Jeff Helt, ’20 and Evan Dinopoulos, ’21, with two more corner kicks from Angelo, two corner kicks from Chad Brewer, ’20 and a shot from Edwin Blanco Chancay, ’21, all that had no luck.

With six minutes left in the game, Earlham scored their first and only goal against the Tigers. That was not the last of the Tigers though.

With four minutes left, Jesse Grubb, ’21, scored his first goal of the season.

Earlham racked up two more fouls and the buzzer sounded. The Tigers took their second victory of the season, making them 2-7-1 overall.

“Tuesday’s win over Earlham was an important one for a couple of reasons,” Burgess said. “Our focus will remain on the positives as we move forward with the program rebuilding process and should provide additional confidence.”

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