After starting 2-4 in conference play, the Yellow Jackets Men’s Soccer team basically had to win out to make it into the OAC Playoffs.
They did just about as much as they could, and fell just short of the highly sought sixth seed, and now marks the fifth straight season that the team has missed the OAC Playoffs.
With three games left, and needing three wins the Yellow Jackets went on to win in overtime thrillers against Wilmington and Mount Union but needed a victory at Marietta to sneak their way into the playoffs, unfortunately Marietta needed the same thing.
“It’s always close at the end, that’s sports,” head coach Reid Ayers said. “You may undervalue an early game, then you get down to the end and there’s only so many available points because everyone has tightened up. That’s typical, I don’t think it’s just OAC soccer.”
Marietta held BW scoreless for the first 50 minutes of the game and scored two goals of their own in the second half to defeat the Yellow Jackets 3-1, effectively ending BW’s season by improving their record to 4-4-1, finishing half a game ahead of the Yellow Jackets who dropped to 4-5 in OAC play.
“For us, really going all the way back to August, it was how can we get better?” Ayers said, “At the end of the season you see really how the quality of play across the OAC has grown. There are no soft games in the OAC anymore. It’s very tough, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Getting past Mount Union and Wilmington weren’t simple tasks either, as both games went into overtime, but sophomore Attila Nagy scored his first and second goals on the season in the consecutive overtime periods, leading the Yellow Jackets to two important victories.
“It’s amazing,” Nagy said. “There’s nothing like it, but of course I have to thank my teammates. I’m not the only one out there, it’s a team of 11 players, the bench and the coaching staff so I have to give kudos to them.”
Nagy and the Yellow Jackets battled more than 205 minutes of action – nearly two and a half games, but pulled out crucial victories, prompting them to go further in preparation. “There was a difference in practice, a difference in games,” Nagy said. “Even in the locker room, guys are dialed in and have the same goal.”
Leading the charge for the Yellow Jackets home stretch was Nagy, whose two goals led the team in their final three games, but he wasn’t alone in timely first goals.
Also scoring for the Yellow Jackets was freshman Shaheen Ghahremani, which marked his first collegiate goal. Sophomore Reed Watkins netted his first goal of the season, and sophomore Trevor Hamm scored his first collegiate goal as well.
As for the season, the Yellow Jackets had multiple players in the top five of categories. Senior All-OAC forward Danny Ruple led the OAC with 41 points and 17 goals. Senior Joey Geither tied for the second most assists all season, with seven. Lastly, Senior goalkeeper Patrick Mehal had the third most saves in the conference with 69.