Niklas Martensson scored with 58 seconds remaining to boost the Wilmington College men’s soccer team to a 3-2 non-conference victory Saturday over Denison at Townsend Field in Williams Stadium.
“It was a wonderful win for the program,” said Wilmington head coach Bud Lewis. “It was a (Denison) team that, quite frankly, outplayed us in a lot of aspects of the game. It’s not often you win a game when you give up 12 corner kicks. This team just found ways to score in critical times. You give up two goals, you have to score three to win, and that is the difference between this team and a lot of teams I had in the past. This team is finding ways to score.”
Martensson headed home a corner kick from sophomore Benny Spirk to secure the win. The winning goal came on the heels of Denison’s equalizer just 14 minutes prior.
“We didn’t get a lot of looks, but when we did, they were dangerous,” said Lewis. “The final goal, that was all Niklas. To get up, battle a lot of bodies and put the ball in a great place, it was just a fabulous goal. Benny played a great corner and it takes two for a goal. Someone has to get the ball to the shooter and the shooter has to play it in.”
Wilmington claimed the early lead as freshmen Roman Kirschner and Carl Bergstrom combined to score in the 13th minute. The Fightin’ Quakers took the advantage into the break, but Denison would allow its deficit to stand long into the second half.
The Big Red scored an unassisted goal less than two minutes in the final 45 minutes.
Two more freshmen, Noah Wallis and Anton Holmqvist, combined on Wilmington’s second goal. Holmqvuist crossed a ball across the mouth of the goal, and Wallis headed it home.
Senior Nick Baker held up against a solid Denison offense. The Big Red mustered 18 shots, 11 of which were on goal. Baker finished with a career-high nine saves.
“Nick is a good goalkeeper,” said Lewis. “He is probably the most improved player over his four-year career, that I have ever had. His play out there, his leadership on the field, was outstanding.”
Wilmington (3-1-2) takes a five-game unbeaten streak to Wednesday’s non-conference home game against Earlham. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. start. It will be the sixth of six straight home games for the Fightin’ Quakers.