By Blake Moore
ADA - The Ohio Northern men's soccer team stormed back from an early 1-0 second half deficit and defeated the Heidelberg Student Princes 4-1 at Kerscher Stadium Wednesday evening in Ohio Athletic Conference action as sophomore defender Beelal Hasan (Westerville/Thomas) netted his first career hat trick in the victory.
With the come-from-behind triumph, the Polar Bears improve to 11-4-1 overall and to 4-2-0 in league play this season. Meanwhile, the Student Princes drop to 5-7-1 on the year with a 2-3-1 mark against the conference loop.
Following a scoreless first period, Heidelberg finally broke into the scoring column in the 51st minute to take their only lead of the night. Student Prince defender Bryce Zeleznik found himself open inside the penalty area on a through-ball that broke down the Polar Bear backline and laced a low shot into the left side netting for the initial advantage.
The visitors showed a renewed energy after capturing the lead, preventing an Ohio Northern equalizer for nearly 25 minutes. However, the Polar Bears offense would come to life in the 75th minute, rattling off four straight goals in just eight minutes to rally past their conference opposition.
Freshman forward Bryan Kern (Rocky River) provided an equalizer in the 76th minute as senior Joseph Schulte (Copley) and Hasan each picked up an assist on the home side's opening score. Schulte would send a cross from the left side of the field into Hasan, who then slotted a pass to a cutting Kern for the goal.
Hasan would take over the scoring duties Wednesday evening as he would register goals in the 78th, 81st, and 83rd minutes of play for the trifecta. Freshman Levi King (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) started the series of goals when he played a ball into the box, which Kern then flicked on to the sophomore for his first goal. The Westerville native then danced his way inside the 18-yard penalty area from the right side, created shooting space, and blasted a shot just underneath the crossbar. He then capped his three-goal performance with a long-range, 22-yard strike that found its way into the upper-right corner of the net.
Hasan's three braces raise his team-best scoring total to 13 goals and place him atop the team with 32 points in 2018.
In net, freshman goalkeeper John Lombardo (Solon) recorded his eighth win of the year after conceding just one goal and making four saves.
The Polar Bear's rally would be aided by a 28-14 shots advantage, including a 12-5 shots on goal edge. ONU also racked up nine corner kick opportunities compared to six attempts for the Student Princes.
Ohio Northern wraps its 2018 regular season home slate this Saturday as they host Ohio Athletic Conference frontrunner Capital at Kerscher Stadium. The match will also serve as the program's Senior Night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Ada.