By Bud Denega
ADA — On the eve of Halloween, the Ohio Northern men's soccer team received quite the scare from Otterbein. After allowing the Cardinals to score a pair of goals in the opening half, the Polar Bears rallied with a trio of scores in the second half en route to a 3-2 victory Wednesday night at Kerscher Stadium.
"I think this game was a good reflection of leadership," ONU head coach Chris Matejka said. "It was a great reflection of our captains. … I liked how we bounced back after we gave up two goals. It was desperate moments there for a little bit, but we gradually found our way back into the game."
The win improves ONU to 13-4-2 overall and 5-2-1 in Ohio Athletic Conference play. The loss snaps Otterbein's three-game win streak and drops it to 11-6-0 overall and 5-3-0 in conference play.
Northern junior Beelal Hasan (Worthington) boasted two of the three goals, his sixth and seventh of the season. Senior Luke Fickenworth (Cincinnati/Anderson) had the other score, his third of the season.
Otterbein's Pau Piang and Kennedy Mensah scored the game's first two goals. Piang registered his in the sixth minute, while Mensah's occurred in the 18th minute.
Hasan cut ONU's deficit in half in the 63rd minute. He scored off a feed from Fickenworth and junior Jimmy Walkinshaw (Plymouth, Mich./Canton).
Fickenworth put the Polar Bears ahead just three minutes later off a feed from Walkinshaw.
"Halftime was good to us," Matejka said. "It was a time for us to reflect, improve and change a few things. We needed to up this tempo in the second half, and we did that."
ONU sophomore goaltender John Lombardo (Solon) registered five saves, and Otterbein goalie Collin Hoffman turned away four shots. The Polar Bears recorded 22 shots on the night, seven of which were on target, while the Cardinals had 14 shots and half of them were on frame.
Northern closes out the regular season Saturday at home against Mount Union.