Men’s soccer took down the Earlham Quakers under the lights on Sept. 26 as two Tigers tallied goals in the scoring margin.
Nick Togilatti, ‘21, drew first blood on home turf, scoring in the first half for Wittenberg, followed up by Alberto Zaragoza, ‘19, in the second.
The two have met 34 times on the pitch and the Tigers have won 20 contests over the Quakers since 1982. Wittenberg has won three straight in the series since 2014.
Togilatti experienced déjà vu in this game as he marked his first goal of the season Wednesday night. Finding the sweet spot, he placed the ball from roughly 20 yards past Quaker defenders and the keeper and into the net for the first goal of the game.
Faring from Beavercreek, Ohio, the sophomore counted two goals in his 2017 rookie campaign. The first of last season was scored in the 4-1 win over Earlham.
Zaragoza’s season goal count is up to nine after lacing the ball into the back of the net off a corner kick. The senior headed the assist from David Quayle, ‘21, to his own feet, swinging around to catch the Earlham keeper off guard.
A tally in the shutout column, first of his tiger career, was the result of freshman Jason Bowen’s collegiate start. With help from the defensive front, the rookie collected only one save in the game and made several key stops to push the Quakers back.
Coach Dwight Burgess decided to split time in the net evenly between his veteran and rookie goalies. Jack Snider, ‘19, has seen more of the bench this year than in season’s past but continues to keep the team motivated and alert. The senior started 15 of 18 games during the 2017 campaign and has logged five through 10 games to date.
Zaragoza found himself atop the stat sheet with seven shot attempts on the night, three of which on goal. Quayle recorded the only assist of the game, his first of the season.
Burgess also allowed many of the younger members of the team to get their feet wet after switching out his starters with 20 minutes left in the first half. Coming off the bench, Eli Esterline, ‘22, tallied another two shots in Wittenberg’s favor, one on goal.
While Earlham was more vocal on the field in comparison to the Tiger squad, they lacked discipline. The away team was caught offsides nine times through the match up, seven of those were in the first half. The Quakers were unable to take advantage offensively as the Wittenberg defense allowed zero corners taken by the opposition.
Field conditions resulted in a postponement of the match up against the Quakers. The Tigers were meant to travel across state lines the day before, however excessive rain through the day did not fair well with Earlham’s grass field.
Saturday Sep. 29 did not result in Wittenberg’s favor, despite taking the field against an inferior Oberlin team. Wittenberg walked in with a split record, while Oberlin had yet to win a game after losing nine straight.
On the road, Wittenberg was shut out by the Yeomen, 2-0. Snider took the net allowing two past him after snagging four saves on the night. The defensive squad was unable to contain Oberlin, allowing 12 shots and seven lobs from the corner.
Frustration set into the team as the red and white were unable to move the ball effectively. Zaragoza left the field with three shots wide and high. Togliatti and Austin Lewis, ‘19, and Christian Randazzo, ‘19, each brought home a yellow card.
Wittenberg continues to show a better team this year than in past years. Currently, the Tigers field a 5-6 record after 11 games. This time last year, the red and white carried the burden of a 3-7-1 record through 11 matchups
Under Burgess, offensive and defensive tactics have shifted for the better despite filling the roster with a young squad, which sports 22 freshman and sophomores stepping up to play alongside the five seniors.
The Tigers will continue playing on the road during Homecoming weekend, meeting rival Wooster on foreign ground to continue conference play.