Marlins Battle No. 14 Lynchburg to Final Whistle

Jamison Auer (R) made nine saves in a shutout Tuesday. Photo by: Jim Auer
Jamison Auer (R) made nine saves in a shutout Tuesday. Photo by: Jim Auer

Marlins Battle No. 14 Lynchburg to Final Whistle

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- While a final score of 0-0 may not traditionally coincide with an exciting evening of soccer, a Virginia Beach crowd of 327 would beg to differ this past Tuesday night as the Virginia Wesleyan University men's soccer team battled No. 14 Lynchburg College. Between staunch physicality, nine pivotal saves from Marlin goalkeeper Jamison Auer, and an extra 20 minutes of play, there was certainly no shortage of drama for Hornet and Marlin fans alike.

The ODAC-leading Hornets emerged from the locker room eager to put balls in the back of the net as Hornet Fredy Flores attempted to slot one away in the fourth minute of play. This was only the start of a chain of first half shots from Lynchburg putting Auer on his heels.
 
The most notable of Lynchburg's 10 first half shots took place in the 24th minute as Flores struck a penalty kick straight into the crossbar. The resulting metal clang that rippled through the Trinder Center kept the contest at a 0-0 stalemate, and most importantly, kept alive the Marlins' hope for an ODAC tournament berth.
 
An affair of theatrics continued through the second half thanks to a busy Auer stopping three second half shots from the visiting Hornets. Lynchburg's Jack Ashby, Sherman Mitchell, and Zach Thomas were the Hornets who forced Auer to add some more saves to his stat sheet in the 49th, 78th, and 90th minutes respectively. A mere five Virginia Wesleyan shots in regulation compared to Lynchburg's 14 leading to no goals from either team induced the night's first overtime period.
 
Five Hornet shots and two Marlin shots in Tuesday night's first 10 minutes of additional time were still not enough to put one team atop the other. As a result, the tired legs of the opposing sides were forced to sprint into 10 more minutes of soccer.
 
In climactic fashion Virginia Wesleyan's Harrison Weinfeld attempted to curl one into the top left corner in the 120th minute. The home Marlin crowd got on their feet as the ball zipped through the air, but the strong hands of Lynchburg goalkeeper Dylan McLaurin swatted away the Marlins' hopes for a place in the ODAC tournament and put the Marlin fans back in their seats with just six seconds remaining.
 
Lynchburg put up a total of 20 shots and seven corners while Virginia Wesleyan put up eight shots and two corners. McLaurin saved four shots for Lynchburg and Auer was forced to make nine on the other end of the pitch.
 
A 3-1 win for Eastern Mennonite (10-6/4-5 ODAC) over Shenandoah (2-15-1/0-8-1 ODAC) and a 2-1 win for Randolph (9-8/4-5 ODAC) over Guilford (2-16/2-7 ODAC) made the draw between Lynchburg (14-1-2/8-0-1 ODAC) and Virginia Weslayan (8-8-1/3-5-1 ODAC) a result that would put the Marlins in ninth place in the ODAC, just outside the tournament field. Lynchburg will enter the upcoming tournament as the No. 1 seed.