Marietta College defeats Bethany with goal in double OT

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Marietta College’s Noah Laliberty (20) and Alex Gruss (29) defend as Bethany College’s Baboucar Sallah-Mohammed (14) tries to make a move with the ball during a college men’s soccer match Wednesday. MC won 1-0 in double overtime.

Andy Rolfes got the golden goal.

With less than 50 seconds remaining in the second overtime period, the Marietta College junior winger tucked a point-blank shot just inside the right post as the Pioneers beat visiting Bethany (W.Va.) College, 1-0, in non-conference men’s soccer action Wednesday.

“Josh Baskind took the ball wide on the left side and crossed one to Tom (Sloan), whose header the goalie saved but parried right to me,” Rolfes said. “It was a sloppy goal but at the end of the day, a goal’s a goal.

“Honestly, we got lucky at the end. But I’d rather be lucky than good any day.”

Sloan was credited with an assist on Rolfes’ third goal of the season. Pioneer keeper Tyler Sholl finished with four saves and his fifth clean sheet of the campaign.

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Marietta College’s Sebastian Ziaja, left, and Bethany’s Zac Hayhurst battle for a header during a college men’s soccer match Wednesday.

“It was very exciting for the fans,” said MC head coach Joe Bergin. “But not so good for the coaches’ hearts. They (Bisons) had a game plan in mind to keep it very tight and we didn’t react all that well to it for a long stretch. Then we started to move the ball and get more skills guys on the ball, and things changed.”

“We had chances in the beginning of the game,” the Pioneer boss added. “We just need to finish, because if we finish one of the chances, they (Bisons) have to come out of their shell and play. And then we could pick them apart at that point, because we’re a better side. But they were a well-coached side.”

Marietta improved its overall record to 5-1-1, while Bethany fell to 4-4-0. Bison goalie Torben Grether had eight saves in the match.

“They’re a decent side, but we just came out and didn’t play very well,” Rolfes said. “But good teams find a way. A win’s a win.”

The Pioneers outshot the Bisons, 19-9, in the contest, including six shots in the second overtime.

“We created chances but just couldn’t get one to go in,” said MC co-captain and sweeper Brent Huck, a former Marietta Tiger standout. “But you know in games like this, one’s bound to come and it did in the last 40 seconds. Would’ve like to have seen it earlier. But a goal’s a goal and a win’s a win.”

Bethany managed just three shots after the intermission, and had only one in the two extra 10-minutes sessions.

“The defense has been solid,” Bergin said. “We’ve only allowed two goals all year along and have set a record for most consecutive shutouts (4).”

MC gave up two goals in a 2-1 setback to Case Western Reserve last Saturday. So, Wednesday’s victory was a bounce-back win.

“We just defend hard from the front line clear to the back,” Huck said. “It’s important to just work hard out there. So, we’re very happy with the shutouts.”

Marietta is scheduled to host Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) at 4 p.m. Saturday.

“We’ve got a winning mentality now, which we haven’t had in awhile,” Rolfes said. “It’s a good camaraderie.”

Said Bergin, “5-1-1, it’s a good start for us. But we can do so much more. I’m not going to complain about a win. We’ll take the win with 40 seconds left in the game. We’ll take it and we’re happy. We got it, and we’ll keep moving forward. It’s just going to get tougher from here on out.”