By Tim Glon
BEXLEY — Sophomore Beelal Hasan (Westerville/Thomas) scored with 51 seconds gone in the second overtime period to lift the fifth-seeded Ohio Northern men's soccer team past top-seeded Capital 2-1 on Friday evening in the semifinals of the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament at Bernlohr Stadium.
The Polar Bears (13-7-1 overall) advance to the finals on Saturday night at 7 pm at John Carroll, while the Crusaders bow out of the tournament with a 14-4-0 record.
Senior William Velotta (Gates Mills/Gilmour Academy) had five saves in goal for the Polar Bears but came up big in several key spots to keep Ohio Northern in the match.
Hasan scored both of his goals off assists from junior Noah Bachwitz (Buffalo, N.Y./Williamsville North).
"I'm so proud of the way we responded after the regular season match (a 6-0 loss in Ada on Oct. 20)," ONU head coach Brent Ridenour said. "I told our guys at halftime that if we could keep Capital scoreless the rest of the way that we had a chance. We were all over them for most of the second half and both overtimes.
"I thought we could get the equalizer and then who knows after that. We kept battling and got it done."
Hasan scored the equalizer from five yards out with 20:52 left in the match when he tapped in a centering pass from Bachwitz.
ONU had the only two shots of the first overtime.
In the second OT, Bachwitz drove the baseline and centered the ball to Hasan, who settled it and knocked it into the net from 10 yards out for the match-winner.
Ohio Northern finished the match with a 22-14 advantage in shots and an 11-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Hasan's two goals give him ONU sophomore records of 15 goals and 35 points on the season.
The Polar Bears had two outstanding chances to score in the first six minutes, but a shot by freshman Levi King (Indianapolis, Ind./North Centra) was saved and a blast by junior Jacob Kieckhafer (Sheboygan, Wis./North) hit the far post and bounced away.
Northern held a 5-0 advantage in shots in the first 13 minutes.
But the Crusaders got the first goal on a header by Chewy Gordon off a corner with 18:19 gone in the match.
Junior Luke Fickenworth (Cincinnati/Anderson) hit the post on a blast from the top of the box in the 43rd minute and Northern nearly scored off a deflection in the final seconds of the half, but the ball was saved off the goal line by CU defender Brandon Woo on a bicycle kick just as the ball was going into the net.
ONU outshot CU 8-5 in the first half.
Northern kept the pressure on early in the second half when Hasan had a dangerous opportunity from the middle of the penalty area just 1:33 into the period, but it was saved by the CU keeper for a corner.
Ohio Northern had a sustained flurry in the 65th and 66th minutes with three corner kicks but did not score.
After Hasan's equalizer, ONU kept its pressure up and King had a blast from just outside the box get deflected for a corner with 9:55 left to play.
Capital countered and had a dangerous chance with seven minutes left but Velotta made an outstanding save from a tight angle to stop the threat.
Velotta stopped another CU blast with 2:40 to go to keep the score even at 1-1.
Northern possed the ball for most of the first overtime and had a solid scoring chance but a header by senior Anthony DeNoi (Powell/Olentangy Liberty) with three minutes left was just brushed over the net by the CU keeper.