KWU Men’s Soccer fall in heartbreaker to Ottawa 4-3

LeBaron Hollimon had no qualms with his Kansas Wesleyan soccer team’s first-half performance against Ottawa.

The Coyotes led 2-0 and outshot the Braves 9-3 in the first 45 minutes.

The second half was a different matter, though. Ottawa scored four goals, the final one in the 85th minute, and held on for 4-3 Kansas Conference victory Wednesday night at Graves Family Sports Complex.

The Braves outshot KWU 13-11 the final 45 minutes and were led by Bence Molnar’s two goals and two assists.

“They put a lot of pressure on us and we didn’t handle the pressure very well,” Hollimon said of the second half. “They came out and pressed us and we just panicked a little bit. The start of the second half is where we lost the game.”

Wesleyan (1-5-1 overall, 0-2 KCAC) scored first in the 18th minute on Jesus Genaro Macias (JR/Garden City, Kan.) unassisted goal from 20 yards out. Havier Zaragoza (JR/Hacienda Heights, Calif.)’s goal inside the penalty box on an assist from Pedro Daniel Rodriguez (SR/Moorpark, Calif.) gave the Coyotes a 2-0 lead in the 35th minute.

“I liked how we controlled the tempo of the game,” Hollimon said of the first half. “We scored some good goals to put them under pressure.”

Ottawa (2-3-2) started quickly in the second half, Jonathan Rawayo scoring in the 51st minute. Molnar tied it 2-2 with his first goal in the 63rd minute and Thomas Santos gave the Braves the lead a minute later.

Israel Good (FR/Beaumont, Calif.)’s tied it again 3-3 with a goal in the 70th minute, the assist to Ivis Gutierrez (SR/Los Angeles, Calif.).

Molnar’s second goal, though, was decisive.

“It’s a game of momentum and they gained a lot of momentum the start of the second half,” Hollimon said. “We’ve got to finish opportunities as well. We had chances to put the game away, we had chances to get back in the game, and we just didn’t put those chances away.

“It’s learning what it means to win, how to win right now. We were up, we just didn’t know how to close the game out.”

KWU outshot Ottawa 20-16 for the match. Goalkeeper Oswaldo Diaz-Lopez (FR/Bryan, Texas) had eight saves, six in the second half, for the Coyotes. OU keeper Gage Powers had four saves.

Wesleyan plays Bellevue (6-2-1) in a non-conference match at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Graves Family Sports Complex in its next outing before Tabor comes to Salina for a conference match at 7:30 p.m. September 29.