BEREA, Ohio – The Baldwin Wallace Unversity men's soccer team is coming off a weekend in which the Yellow Jackets obtained a 1-1 record during the 28th Annual Bob Allen Nissan Classic, hosted by Centre (Ky.) College.
Playing the host team in the first game on Friday, Centre got the best of BW by a 2-0 score. The Colonels outshot the Yellow Jackets 18-11. However, solid on-the-ball pressure and quality movement prevented the Colonels from putting more of their shots on goal.
"In general, I think we made great strides," Head Coach Reid Ayers stated. "For 60 minutes, we had arguably one of the better performances we've had in probably a couple of years here. I think our midfield was organized. We were able to play through our midfield. Our backs were organized and were able to not only win the ball but effectively to start the attack, doing both of the jobs."
Less than 24 hours later, the Yellow Jackets were back on the field for the second game of the tournament, shutting out Spalding (Ky.) University 2-0 to earn their first win of the season. Sophomore All-Ohio Athletic Conference forward Danny Ruple (Berea/Berea-Midpark) finished with a goal and an assist in the win while junior forward Logan Davis (Hinckley/Medina Highland) scored what would end up being the game-winning goal in the seventh minute.
Davis and junior defender JT Taubeneck (Parma/Normandy) were named to the All-Tournament team following the second game.
"The game on Saturday was a great barometer of where we're at, not just because we won the game," Ayers said. "It was a game with very tired legs with day 2 of a tournament. It was a very industrial performance. It was gritty, they forced mistakes and had to absorb some pressure. The team dealt with those challenges very well. The game wasn't the prettiest to watch but they were able to buckle down and survive. It was an incredible growing moment for them. Hopefully it is something that will translate into the upcoming week."
Looking ahead at the schedule, after opening up the season with two different weekend tournaments, the Yellow Jackets are excited to return to Berea and play in front of a home crowd on Tuesday night.
"It'll be nice to be at home," Ayers said "The tournaments are great opportunities to build your team. Guys are together 24/7. It's just a very unique opportunity to weave the fabric of your culture together. The travel does get a little tiresome so we hope to have a good performance at home."
The Yellow Jackets will host Allegheny (Pa.) College in the team's home opener on Tuesday, September 12, at 7 p.m. inside George Finnie Stadium before hitting the road once again to take on the College of Wooster on Thursday, September 14, at 5 p.m. and Bluffton University on Saturday, September 16, at 3:30 p.m.
"It's going to be a tough week," Ayers stated. "Allegheny and Wooster are both North Coast Athletic Conference teams that are off to pretty good starts. They're going to be big challenges for us. This is going to be the test of our ability to grind. Can we apply what we learned down in Kentucky to the day-to-day operations here in Ohio? Three games in a week is tough but I'm curious to see how they respond after a positive weekend in Kentucky."