By Blake Moore
WESTERVILLE — The Ohio Northern men's soccer team would need just one goal from freshman midfielder Levi King (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) to upend Ohio Athletic Conference foe Otterbein 1-0 Tuesday evening in the OAC Tournament quarterfinal round at Memorial Stadium in Westerville.
With the first-round triumph, the Polar Bears improve to 12-7-1 overall and will travel to top-seeded Capital for the semifinals Thursday evening at 7 pm at Bernlohr Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals conclude their conference tournament run with an 8-8 overall record.
King took just 15 minutes to light up the Memorial Stadium scoreboard following an ONU corner kick opportunity. The corner kick would find senior forward Anthony DeNoi (Powell/Olentangy Liberty) on the far side of the 18-yard penalty box before he slotted a pass back to a streaking King for the assist.
The freshman would one-time a grounded shot passed Otterbein starting goalkeeper Collin Hoffmann to provide the early advantage and give the away side the lead headed into the intermission.
King's brace is the 10th strike of his first season with the Ohio Northern men's soccer program.
After the break, the two programs would battle to a scoreless frame though both teams had several opportunities to find the scoresheet. The Polar Bears would stave off a late home-side rally that included four Otterbein chances within the final 10 minutes of the match.
King and sophomore Beelal Hasan (Westerville/Thomas) paced the Ohio Northern offense with seven shots each and combined for nine of the team's 10 shots on frame in the match.
In net, freshman goalkeeper John Lombardo (Solon) would register a career-high eight saves in the 13th start of his career. The clean sheet gives him four career shutouts and marks his ninth career victory in goal.
As a team, ONU would outshoot the Cardinals 18-14, including a 10-8 shots on goal margin. The Polar Bears would also tally six corner kick opportunities while Otterbein registered five.