Otterbein Win Masked by Case Controversy
Spirits were riding high this week as Men’s Soccer prepared to take on the nation’s third-ranked team, the Case Western Reserve University Spartans, in Cleveland. The Yeomen were riding hot off of a 1-0 blanking of Otterbein College on September 15. Junior sensation Luke Hoffman continued his impressive campaign, notching his sixth goal of the season, good for second in the North Coast Athletic Conference, on a strong pass from sophomore Dan Jaffe.
As has been Oberlin’s formula this season at home, the Yeomen took the early lead and held on tight with stifling defense, precision ball control and a few great saves from first-year Zach Lipshultz, who recorded his third shutout of the season.
On Sept. 19 the upset-minded Yeomen took the field at Case for this traditional rivalry game. Both teams held strong in the first half but the Spartans notched the first goal of the contest via penalty kick in the 60th minute when junior Kyle Taljan was called for a handball.
The controversial call was the first of many against Oberlin on this evening. Case struck again in the 79th minute and once more in the 81st to give the Spartans a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead.
With just under five minutes left in the game, the Yeomen came storming back when senior Sam Zackheim ripped a penalty kick to cut Case’s lead to 3-1. With under a minute remaining on the clock Hoffman chipped in his seventh goal of the season to bring the Spartan lead down to just 3-2.
The fortitude of this year’s men’s soccer team was apparent when, with just seconds left, Taljan made a picture-perfect throw in to Zackheim who turned and fired the ball into the Spartan net for his second score of the game as time ran out. Yet heartbreak was coming for the Yeomen as the officials determined the goal was struck after time expired.
After the game, Lipshultz, whose eight-save performance kept the Yeomen in the game, had this to say: “The game was a tough-fought battle with lots of shifts in momentum. We played hard throughout and took the undeserving loss, thanks to some questionable calls by the referee. The team morale is still very high and expect a great performance this Saturday against Muskingum.”
Lipshultz was not the only Yeoman who took issue with the officiating. As the coaching staff has since put the game under review because of the circumstances surrounding the equalizing strike by Zackheim, as well as a questionable Spartan goal early in the match.
The Yeomen resume non-conference action this Saturday, looking to extend their unbeaten home streak to 14.