The Baker Orange

Men’s soccer wins fourth straight in extra time

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

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The men’s soccer team won a thriller against Ottawa University in extra time, 4-3. Amer Didic scored his third game-winning goal of the season for the Wildcats as the team’s record moved to 4-4-1 with its fourth consecutive win. Amir Didic (5) receives congratulations from his teammates after scoring the game-winning penalty kick against Ottawa on Sept. 24 at Liston Stadium.Laura Price

Ottawa came in with a record of 0-7-0 and had only scored one goal in its previous seven games. The Braves rank third highest in the NAIA with 4.3 goals allowed per game.

Baker got the scoring going early with a goal in the 14th minute from freshman Blake Levine. Junior Austin Shiney played a ball at the top of the 18-yard box that ricocheted between two Ottawa defenders and ended up falling to the feet of Levine. The freshman stepped up with his right foot and beat Ottawa’s sophomore goalkeeper Dariusz Aitkenhead to the bottom left corner to put the Wildcats up, 1-0.

With 22 seconds left before halftime, Baker missed a scoring chance off of a corner kick when junior Greg Baron pulled a volley just wide of the back left post. Baker went into the half up just one goal.

It didn’t take long for junior Robert Hoeven to find the back of the net for Baker after the halftime break. After junior Amer Didic’s set piece from just outside the box was deflected, Didic sent another high cross in front of goal. Hoeven found himself in the right position and fired one from just inside the box to beat Aitkenhead and celebrated his goal with a somersault in front of the Wildcats bench. Baker led Ottawa 2-0 in the 52nd minute.

The Ottawa Braves did not yield, however, as they came back and struck immediately. The Braves’ senior forward Rafael Ramirez ripped a shot on freshman goalkeeper Nick Riggle from close range and Riggle deflected the ball back out.

Ottawa continued their surge and freshman Ross Anderson dribbled into the box and a handball was called on Baker. Junior Kyler Grimes took the penalty kick for Ottawa and went to the left. Riggle had a beat on the ball, but the deflection found the back of the net to put Ottawa back to within one.

Up one goal, the Baker attack stepped up in the 68th minute when senior Preston Phillips whipped a left-footed cross to the back post for Levine. Levine found the back left corner with his forehead for his second goal of the night and his third on the season. With just 22 minutes to play the Wildcats led 3-1.

In the 77th minute the Braves began a comeback with a right-footed volley from Anderson to cut the Baker lead to one goal. Anderson’s strike came from 26 yards out.

Ottawa continued to rally on the attack to tie the game in the final minutes. In the 85th minute Anderson took advantage of a sloppy Baker pass and burned his way past Didic into the box and passed off for Grimes, whose shot deflected off Riggle and rolled into the net to tie the game at 3-3 and force extra time.

In the final 15 seconds of the first extra time period, Shiney had a set piece opportunity from just over 30 yards out. His cross was popped out by Aitkenhead and junior Andrew Miller put his head on the punch out, redirecting it across the face of goal. Aitkenhead had been beaten and Ottawa’s only hope was for sophomore Jacob Martin to hit the ball with his hand to keep the ball out of the net. So with one second on the clock, Martin was issued a red card for the hand ball and Didic had a penalty kick.

Didic had taken four penalty kicks prior to the night’s game and converted on all four. He kept his perfect streak by going for the bottom left corner and winning the game for Baker. Didic scored his seventh goal in four games, eighth goal of the season and 15th career goal.

The Wildcats outshot the Braves 22-8 while putting nine of their shots on frame. They pushed their winning streak to four straight games over the past two weeks.

The men will take the pitch for the next time on Oct. 4 at Benedictine College to open up conference play. The last time these teams met was in the semifinals of the conference tournament last season in Atchison. Baker won 2-1 when alum Andy Griffin scored the game-winning goal in extra time.