PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – The Shawnee State men’s soccer program sent out its seven seniors in the right way as Nick Dowdell, Martyn Sayer, Mauricio Solis and Matt Williams each added a goal and the Bears kept a strong Kentucky Christian attack from painting the scoreboard as Shawnee State defeated the Knights 4-0 on Senior Day at the Shawnee Turf on Tuesday evening.
On the afternoon, the Bears dominated the overall pace of the game, as Shawnee State (6-12) recorded 26 shots, including 16 on goal, compared to Kentucky Christian’s (12-7-1) eight and four on goal.
For the first 18 minutes of the contest, however, the game was as tight as it could be as even though the Bears held a 6-2 edge in shots attempted, Shawnee State could not find the goal.
However, the Bears’ backline of Ben Pulsford, Dylan Stevens, and Aaron Mazurkiewicz were equally as tough to crack as despite two excellent chances to strike at the goal, Kentucky Christian would come up empty as Shawnee State continued to keep the pressure on the Knights’ offensive attack.
In the 18th minute, the Bears would strike with the opening salvo as Nick Dowdell weaved his way past three Kentucky Christian defenders to put a shot past keeper Luke Porter and give Shawnee State a 1-0 lead at the 18:50 mark.
The Bears, however, would struggle to find any room to operate its offense over the following 26 minutes of play. Despite outshooting the Knights by a 5-2 tally over the allotted time, Shawnee State could not find the mark again in the first half of play, leaving the Bears with a slim 1-0 advantage at the end of the opening half of play.
During the second half, Shawnee State would prove to tighten up its offensive attack as the Bears would attempt four shots through the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
In the 57th minute, Shawnee State’s fifth attempt would strike gold as after a quick-played corner by Pulsford, Avery Patton would shoot a pass to Williams, who put a rocket of a shot by newly inserted goalkeeper Chris Mcquistion to give the Bears a 2-0 advantage.
Over the next 25 minutes of play, the Bears would completely shut the Kentucky Christian offense down as Shawnee State grabbed a total of seven shots while holding the Knights to a single shot on the defensive end of the field.
The persistence would eventually pay off for Shawnee State as the Bears would come up in a large manner to end the contest by scoring two goals in just over a two-and-a-half minute span to put the game out of reach.
During the 83rd minute of play, Solis would take the ball from the far side of the field and launch a pass to Chris Wiget in the penalty box. There, the senior found a streaking Sayer, who finished with authority toward the opposite post to give Shawnee State a 3-0 advantage.
Then to finish things off, Sayer and Solis would strike once more, connecting at the 86:05 mark as Solis finished by faking a defender out at the middle of the penalty box, grabbing space, and then pulling the trigger from the left side of the penalty box, giving the Bears a 4-0 lead that would not be relinquished.
On the evening, Sayer would score his lone goal on six shots, putting five on goal and adding an assist for good measure. Dowdell would add his aforementioned goal – the senior’s first of the year – on three shots, including two on goal. Solis would also add a goal and an assist on the evening for Shawnee State.
In addition to Sayer’s, Dowdell’s, and Solis’ outputs, Williams would add a goal on his lone attempt, while Wiget and Patton would grab an assist apiece.
This contest marked the final home bout for seven Bears: Ben Pulsford, Dylan Whitehead, Dylan Stevens, Chris Wiget, Avery Patton, Nick Dowdell, and Alex Tulley.
The Senior Day festivities also marked a new record for Pulsford, who set the all-time mark in games started with 74. When the Slough, England native takes the field for Thursday afternoon’s quarterfinal matchup against Cumberland (Tenn.), the senior will tie Tanner Hopwood’s record of 75 career appearances in a Shawnee State uniform.
With the regular-season tilt finished, the Bears, who are slotted as the No. 7 seed in the Mid-South Conference Tournament, will play the No. 2 seeded Bulldogs at Lovers Lane Park in Bowling Green, Ky. The contest, which is a Mid-South quarterfinal matchup, will be played on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 2:30 p.m.