Men’s Soccer’s Last Game an Intense Defensive Struggle

Thomas Pitney

Sports Editor

 

The Wooster men’s soccer team took on the Denison Big Red in its final game of the season, which took place at Carl Dale Field on Oct. 30. The last memory the seniors on the team will have of Wooster soccer is a gritty, emotional, defensive stalemate against the 10-4-2 Big Red to finish their careers with a 0-0 tie.

Though their playoff hopes were dashed after Wabash College tied Oberlin College to secure the fourth and final spot in the NCAC Tournament, the Scots still gave it their all to help the twelve seniors on the team finish their careers with a win. One of the seniors, Keegan King ’22, was extremely grateful for the excitement surrounding his final game. “Everyone, not just the seniors, were playing their hearts out. From the guys cheering from the bench to the fans in the stands, the atmosphere was electric.” Despite their determination, the Scots faced a very talented Denison team, who qualified for the playoffs by finishing third in the conference.

Wooster’s emotions allowed them to come out of the game firing on all cylinders, as Denison did not even manage a shot until the 21st minute, by which time the Scots had already attempted three shots. After Denison’s first shot, the half became a very even defensive struggle, as both teams faced long stretches without taking a shot. Most of the shots were not even significant scoring threats, as Wooster keeper Hamilton Schattgen ’22 made the only two saves of the first half. Schattgen gave credit to his defense for preventing Denison from gaining an edge offensively. “The back four playing in front of me had a great game and made it so there were very few dangerous shots in the game.” Thanks to a strong defensive showing by both Wooster and Denison, both teams went to the locker room deadlocked in a 0-0 halftime tie.

Early in the second half, both offenses gave themselves opportunities to score; however, neither team capitalized. Wooster took five shots in the first six minutes of the second half, while Denison took two during this time. Wooster’s best chance to score came after a yellow card was issued to the Denison goalkeeper. Unfortunately for the Scots, Max Hill’s ’22 penalty shot was saved by the Big Red keeper, which kept the game at a 0-0 deadlock. After the penalty shot save, the second half mirrored the first, as both defenses settled in and continued to keep the opposing attacks at bay. In the final five minutes of the second half, Wooster put together a furious rally, as Hill took three shots and Miles Rochester ’25 took one shot; once again however, the attempts to score were snuffed out by the Big Red defense. Having finished regulation with a scoreless tie, it was on to overtime for the two rivals.

Schattgen was thrilled that his final career game went into overtime. He explained that “as the game progressed to overtime I remember being excited for the gift of a little more time on the field before it was truly over.” Despite this, Schattgen and his teammates were extremely determined to end the game going out on top. In the first ten-minute overtime period, the goalies shined. Schattgen made the first save of the period while Denison’s goalie rejected shots from Jack Giloth ’22 and Jason Stewart ’24 to force a second overtime.

The second overtime was another ten-minute period that was also the teams’ final chance to win the game; if neither team scored before the end of the period, it would be ruled a tie. Schattgen once again stepped up for the Scots, making a crucial save in the 103rd minute while the Scots made a final team save in the 104th minute. Though they did not attempt a shot in the second overtime, the Scots’ defense ensured that the final horn blared after 110 minutes, ending Wooster’s season with a scoreless draw.

The Wooster seniors reflected on their four years and many tears were shed in the team huddle after the final whistle. Schattgen had nothing but positive things to say about the program. “Coach Zidron has done a great job of building a family on this team. It’s truly amazing how quickly a stranger can go to a best friend once they are on the team.” King also highlighted the closeness of the team when reflecting on his career. “I have never felt more welcomed on campus than I do in the locker room. The focus on brotherhood and growing into, not just great soccer players but honorable young men, is the most important takeaway from my time with the team. I never believed it was possible to get so close to so many teammates, but Wooster men’s soccer makes it impossible to come in and be alone.”

This was the final game of the season. Congratulations to the seniors for capping off their fantastic careers!