DELAWARE, Ohio – Sophomore forward Ben Sobotka (Dublin/Jerome) scored the game’s only goal as Ohio Wesleyan defeated Oberlin in the North Coast Athletic Conference opener for both teams on Saturday at the Jay Martin Soccer Complex.

The win is the 700th career victory for Ohio Wesleyan head coach Jay Martin, making him the first NCAA men’s soccer coach in any division to reach the 700-win mark.

Entering the 2018-2019 season, Martin was the winningest coach in NCAA Division III soccer history with a total of 695 wins. He has guided 41 Battling Bishop soccer teams to a 695-141-68 record, and his career winning percentage of .806 entering the 2018 season ranks 10th all-time. 

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Martin has led Ohio Wesleyan to two NCAA Championships (1998, 2011). Under his guidance, Ohio Wesleyan was the winningest men’s soccer team in the NCAA — regardless of division — during the 1980s, compiling a winning percentage of .815 to top such programs as Indiana, UNC-Greensboro and UCLA. The Battling Bishops bettered that during the 1990s, compiling a winning percentage of .825, and improved upon that during the 2000s, with a winning percentage of .827.

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“It’s always nice to say that you’ve done something that no one else has done, but we’ve had great players here over the last 40 years, and that’s how we’ve won 700 games — good players,” Martin said.

Sobotka gave the Bishops the lead in the 58th minute, fielding a pass from freshman midfielder Hector Gomez (Columbus/St. Francis DeSales) and connecting from in front of the goal.

Oberlin challenged in the closing minutes of the contest, first in the 81st minute when Trenton Bulucea sent a 22-yard free kick over the crossbar, and then in the 83rd minute, when Jack McMillin ran down a long ball into the penalty area but sent his header outside the right post.

Yeomen keeper Fiachra McDonagh kept the game close in the 85th minute, making a spectacular save after a crossing pass from sophomore back Isaiah Harris (Hilliard/Bradley) hit sophomore midfielder Matt Yingling (Gettysburg, Pa./Gettysburg Area) in stride and Yingling fired a rocket that appeared to be heading inside the left post.  On the ensuing corner kick, junior back Brady Whittekind (Hilliard/Bradley) circled behind the play and got his head on the ball, but McDonagh was there at the right post to make the stop.

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The teams had played to a scoreless tie at the half.  Ohio Wesleyan got a header from junior back Charles Branche III (Washington, D.C./Landon School) in the ninth minute but saw the shot sail over the crossbar.  In the 29th minute, Gomez crossed the ball from the left end line to junior midfielder Antonio Romanelli (Lewis Center/St. Francis DeSales), but his shot stayed high.

Oberlin had a look at the Bishop goal in the 31st minute when Nic Jandeleit made a run and set up Spencer Wright for a shot, but Wright’s drive was high.

In the 39th minute, Yingling crossed the ball to freshman forward Dom Calabrese (Beavercreek), but McDonagh knocked the ball up into the air.  Calabrese was able to get to the loose ball but headed the follow shot over the crossbar.

McDonagh made 2 more stops during the final minutes of the half, first a diving save of a 20-yard shot by Yingling that gave the Bishops a corner kick, then a save on a header by junior back Joe Brush (Lawrenceburg, Ind./East Central) after the corner kick.

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“It’s a little bit disappointing to have 25 shots and score only one goal,” said Martin.  “That’s just not good enough.  We’re very talented, but we’re just not scoring.  With all due respect to Oberlin, we should have scored more goals.

“The first conference win is really important.  We’re undefeated in the conference, and we want to keep it that way.”

Ohio Wesleyan outshot Oberlin, 25-7.  Junior J.P. Baughman (Westerville/St. Francis DeSales) was not tested in the Ohio Wesleyan goal.  McDonagh finsihed with 10 saves for the Yeomen.
 

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