Senior forward Travis Wall (Columbus/Upper Arlington) tallied a goal and an assist as sixth-ranked Ohio Wesleyan stormed back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to defeat eighth-ranked Ohio Northern 3-2 in a third-round game of the NCAA Division III tournament on Friday at Roy Rike Field.
Ohio Wesleyan advances to the national quarterfinals to face Hope (Mich.), which outscored Luther (Iowa) on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie in Friday’s opener. Today’s quarterfinal contest is set for a 6 p.m. kickoff at Roy Rike Field.
Ohio Northern had the edge in play for the majority of the first half, holding Ohio Wesleyan to 3 shots during the period, with 2 of those blocked by the Polar Bear defense.
The Polar Bears got the first dangerous chance of the game, earning 3 straight corner kicks during a stretch beginning in the 37th minute. On the third, Josh Green’s header appeared bound for the left side of the goal, but senior defender Andrew Miller (Medina) cleared the ball off the line to preserve the scoreless tie.
Two minutes later, junior goalkeeper Paul Hendricks (Columbus/Worthington Kilbourne) made a diving save at the right post of a shot by Cameron Johnson.
The Bears would continue the pressure, and it paid off when Abrim Mueller centered the ball from the right end line to Johnson, who headed it home to give the visitors a 1-0 lead with 1:46 left in the first half.
It looked like the half would end that way, but Ohio Wesleyan was called for a foul inside the midfield stripe with less than 30 seconds to play, and the Polar Bears took advantage of the 15-mile-per-hour tailwind to launch the ball into the penalty area. The ball rattled around there before ONU’s Greg Stawicki knocked it home with :13 left in the half, giving Ohio Northern a 2-0 lead.
Ohio Wesleyan turned up the offensive pressure in the second half, and it started to pay dividends with better looks than the Bishops got during the first period. In the 52nd minute, it was sophomore midfielder Matt Shadoan (Dublin/Scioto) sending a laser over the crossbar that missed by about the width of the ball. Then, in the 61st minute, senior midfielder Dylan Stone (Easton, Conn./Barlow) saw his shot cleared off the line by a Polar Bear defender.
The Bishops finally found paydirt in the 71st minute, when senior forward Matt Bonfini (Dublin/Coffman) dished the ball off to Wall, took the return pass, and blistered a shot past Polar Bear keeper Mac Church.
Wall put a shot on goal that Church stopped less than a minute later, but the Polar Bear netminder would not have as much success the next time, when freshman midfielder Colton Bloecher (Lewis Center/Olentangy Orange) served the ball into the box to Shadoan, who got past Church and scored into the unprotected goal to even the game at 2-2 with 13:22 left in regulation time.
Wall rang up the game-winner with a run along the left end line, beating 3 Polar Bear defenders before burying a shot into the right side of the net with 4:09 left in the game.
Ohio Northern earned a corner kick in the closing seconds, but the Polar Bears were not able to get off a shot.
Ohio Wesleyan outshot Ohio Northern, 18-14, including a margin of 15-7 in the second half. Hendricks finished with 4 saves, while Church stopped 2 shots.