Wheeling Park Uses Late Bauer Goal to Win
WHEELING — With less than a minute to go on a running clock and the scored tied at 1-1, it looked as if a back-and-forth matchup between Class AAA boys’ soccer powerhouses Wheeling Park and Jefferson would end in a draw.
Wheeling Park’s Andrew Glass and Vincent Bauer had other plans.
Glass, a sophomore midfielder, took the ball from a Jefferson player just on Park’s side of the pitch with about 40 seconds left and lifted a pass over Jefferson’s defensive line.
Bauer, a senior forward, did all the rest.
The speedy Bauer outran the defense and then, as Jefferson’s keeper came out to play the ball, struck a nice chip shot over the keeper’s outstretched hands to give Park a 2-1 lead with 36 seconds remaining. The score remained there as Wheeling Park (7-2) handed Jefferson its first loss.
Wheeling Park coach Mario Julian commended his team for its solid play, as Jefferson grabbed an early 1-0 lead. The Patriots, however, kept the Cougars off the board for the final 60 minutes to secure a victory.
“I thought we held our defensive shape well at the end of the game, I think both coaches thought this one would end in a draw,” Julian said. “But then Andrew Glass, our outside mid, struck a really nice ball over the defender’s head and our fastest player, Vincent Bauer, did the rest, scoring a great goal with the pressure on.”
Bauer has struggled finding the back of the net this season, but has scored in each of the past two games. Julian said he and assistant coach Bill Konkle have been working with Bauer to keep his confidence high, and his play Saturday could be the turning point Park needs as it heads into the second half of the season.
“We played against an undefeated team, held them to one goal and beat them in the final 30 seconds on Vincent’s goal. I think this is exactly what we needed,” he said.
After Jefferson’s early goal, Park junior midfielder Chris Romanek knotted the score in the 36th minute when he placed the ball in the lower right-hand corner of the net off a feed from junior midfielder Louis Aulick. The two teams played to a stalemate after that until Glass and Bauer teamed in the final minute to give the Patriots a win.
Julian said he like the spot his team finds itself in now, as some recent lineup adjustments are paying dividends.
“We’ve got work to do, we made some lineup adjustments starting (Friday), and we saw a lot of benefits from those moves. Our goal is to continue to win games and learn to play better as a team — to play selfless,” he said.