No Rest For The Weary: Riders Battle In Win

St. Marys’ Andrew Ibrahim (12) slides in front of Bath’s Nate Griffin to keep the ball away from the Bath defenseman during the first half of a Western Buckeye League soccer game on Monday at Roughrider Field.
Sports Editor

It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.

With a few players under the weather in hot and muggy conditions and Bath’s physicality giving St. Marys all it can handle, the Roughriders managed to score the only goal of the game midway through the second half for its fourth straight victory in a 1-0 Western Buckeye League win.

Saddled with four ties and just two wins halfway through the season, the Roughriders (6-2-4, 4-1-2 WBL) have picked up steam with wins in their last four games and six of their last nine overall for a 6-1-2 record during that span.

“I love how our team is coming together,” Roughriders coach Josh Hertenstein said. “And I love how in the beginning of the season, the defense was our weakness and now it is our strength. We are starting to score goals, even though it did not happen tonight, but we pushed through.”

The lone goal of the night came when Max Mielke worked up the right side of the field with a defender on him and still got the pass off to Austin Hertenstein at the top of the goal box as the junior booted the ball into the back of the net past Bath goalkeeper Brenton Brock with 18:49 remaining in the second half. 

“We have talked about playing from the outside-in and we have talked about keeping it on the ground and making the keeper come out and they did it,” Hertenstein said. “I wish it wouldn’t have taken 20 minutes into the second half to do it, but they did it.”

Hertenstein added that Adam Tobin, the team’s leading scorer, was sick on Monday and that it might have affected the way he played, as well as Kyle Steininger, who was a little weak at midfielder. Hertenstein was not sure if Steininger was coming down with something either, but he also gave credit to Bath, who played physical against the Roughriders most of the night.

“We just didn’t move the ball as well as we could have and we got a lot of shots, but we just couldn’t put one in,” the coach added. “They [Bath] came to play. They were amped up for us.”

But Hertenstein praised his senior Mielke for willing the team throughout the game when the going got tough.

“Our senior captain Max Mielke willed us to a win tonight,” Hertenstein said. “He was out there pumping everybody up and literally willed us to a win. He also had an assist on that goal and sometimes you just have to win that way. It’s not pretty, but I love how this team is playing right now.”

St. Marys out-shot Bath 10-7. 

Keeper Correy Nelson collected four saves and Brock finished with seven.

The junior varsity team won 3-0 in just one half of play on goals from Easton Craft, assist by AJ Dieringer, Joey Vanderhorst, assist by Craft, and Ryan Ibrahim on an assist by Brandon Miller.