WILMINGTON, Ohio – The Wilmington College men's soccer team battled through a consistent downpour of rain to defeat Denison University 3-1 in the final game of the 2018 Kiwanis Classic held at Williams Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Fightin' Quakers nearly struck for a goal in the opening three minutes as the hosts drew a foul in the box. Unfortunately, Niklas Martensson's penalty kick was saved by Denison goalkeeper, Dylan Brown.
Martensson would get a chance to redeem himself, however. Gabriel Nygard broke free down the flank of Townsend Field in the 35th minute. He sent a pass to Nati Wallis, who promptly flicked it back with his heel, completing a near perfect give-and-go pass. Nygard then sent a cross to the far post where Martensson was waiting. The senior hit a header across the grain to other post, beating Brown for the game's first goal.
Wilmington took the 1-0 lead into halftime, but it did not take long to for the Quakers to double their lead. Two-and-half minutes into the second half, Martensson curled a through ball past the Big Red defense. Leon Tank beat Brown to the spot and fired a low shot that caught the side netting for the second goal of the game.
Trailing 2-0, it was Denison's turn to draw a foul in the box, and Lucas Lilley converted the penalty kick in the 60th minute to get the Big Red within a goal. The visitors would fire five more shots in the game, but none could break through the Wilmington defense, anchored by goalkeeper Felix Maurer. In the 89th minute, Denison committed a foul to avoid a Wilmington counter attack. Daniel Kappelin quickly fired a low shot to the near post before the Big Reds' defense was setup to clinch the game for Wilmington.
Wilmington outshot Denison 17-13 in the contest including by an 11-7 margin in the final 45 minutes. The Big Red countered with a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Individually, Tank and Martensson led the offensive charge, combining for 11 shots including seven on goal. Matt Rush fired four shots to lead Denison.
David Anderson took home Most Valuable Player honors for Kenyon. Joining him on the All-Tournament team were: Philippe Stengel of Kenyon, Niklas Martensson of Wilmington, Dylan Brown of Denison and Garrett Miller of Adrian.
Kenyon College, which defeated Adrian College 4-0 in Saturday's first game, wins the 2018 Kiwanis Classic with a 2-0 record. Wilmington and Denison finished 1-1 while Adrian posted a record of 0-2.
Wilmington (2-2-0) returns to action at Hanover College on Wednesday, Sept. 12. Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m.