Season Review: Men's Soccer wraps up 13th consecutive winning season and OAC upper-division finish in 2018 campaign

Season Review: Men's Soccer wraps up 13th consecutive winning season and OAC upper-division finish in 2018 campaign

By Blake Moore

ADA — The Ohio Northern men's soccer program registered its 13th successive winning season, 13th straight OAC upper-division finish, and made a spectacular late-season run at the 2018 OAC Tournament title during a competitive 2018 campaign under 21st-year head coach Brent Ridenour.

The Polar Bears wrapped up the 2018 campaign owning a 13-7-2 overall record and a 4-5 Ohio Athletic Conference mark, which landed the program fifth in the final league standings. As the fifth-seeded team, Northern would make an impressive run at the OAC Tournament title, knocking off fourth-seeded Otterbein and top-seeded Capital before falling to John Carroll in the OAC Tournament Finals during extra penalty kicks.

Northern has now appeared in 10 OAC Tournament Finals throughout the past 13 seasons. Meanwhile, the program has advanced beyond the quarterfinal round on 16 occasions and missed the conference postseason tournament just three times under Coach Ridenour's direction.

"We played one of our toughest schedules in school history, which really helped us prepare for a difficult conference schedule," head coach Brent Ridenour stated. "The OAC was as deep and talented as I have ever seen it. It was a great accomplishment for us to make the OAC Tournament Finals and come so close to an NCAA Tournament appearance."  
"Our seniors capped off their careers by playing in four OAC Tournaments, winning one OAC championship, and competing in two NCAA Tournaments. I am very proud of everything that they did for this program. We are going to miss them greatly."
This season, the Polar Bears would land four honorees on the All-Ohio Athletic Conference teams with one individual also earning United Soccer Coaches All-Great Lakes Region honors. Sophomore Beelal Hasan (Westerville/Thomas) headlined the honors with First-Team All-OAC accolades. Meanwhile, freshmen Levi King (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) and Jacob Westerkamp (Beavercreek) were honored with Second-Team nods and sophomore Jimmy Walkinshaw (Plymouth, Mich./Canton) received Honorable Mention kudos.
Hasan earned the first conference honors in his career after starting all 22 matches for the Polar Bears this season, producing a team-best 15 goals and 36 points. Additionally, he chipped in six assists to finish second on the team. Due to his efforts, Hasan ended third in goals and shots (79) while finishing fourth in points among the Ohio Athletic Conference leaderboards.
The Westerville native's goal and point totals from the 2018 campaign also established new sophomore class records, eclipsing former student-athlete Christian Huelsman's 14 goals and 33 points set back in 2009.
Hasan would additionally be tabbed to the Ohio Athletic Conference All-Tournament Team.
In addition to Second-Team All-OAC honors, King garnered OAC Freshman of the Year accolades and Third-Team USC All-Great Lakes Region honors following an impressive first season at Ohio Northern.
The two-time OAC Offensive Player of the Week honoree ended 2018 with 10 goals, 28 points, and led the team with eight assists and 82 total shots. He would also stand among the league's best at season's end, ranking second in shots, fourth in assists, and fifth in goals and points during the campaign.
King's eight assists on the season stands tied for the fourth-best helper total among freshman student-athletes in school history.
Westerkamp, a defensive back hailing from Beavercreek, received Second-Team All-OAC honors after starting the last 18 matches in the 2018 season. He played a critical role anchoring a defense that shutout eight opponents and allowed just 1.33 goals per game.
The freshman would also contribute two assists and score his first career goal in a 5-1 victory over Anderson (Ind.) during the season.
Walkinshaw returned to the Polar Bears after missing the previous season due to injury, starting 15 matches in 16 total appearances to earn Honorable Mention honors. He would provide Northern with vital minutes in the midfield while dishing out an assist and scoring a goal this year.
The Plymouth, Michigan native would also secure OAC All-Tournament Team accolades for his efforts in the late-season championship run.
Junior forward Noah Bachwitz (Buffalo, N.Y./Williamsville North) would join Hasan and Walkinshaw on the All-Tournament team. During the tournament run, the junior contributed both assists in the 2-1 semifinal victory over top-seeded Capital.
On the season, Bachwitz produced his first career goal and a career-best six assists. He would be a mainstay for the Polar Bears off the bench, seeing time in all 22 matches while adding the first four starts of his career.
The program would also be well-represented on this year's Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference team as 13 total recipients were recognized for their academic successes by the league office.
Six junior class members received the honor, including Bachwitz, Luke Fickenworth (Cincinnati/Anderson), Timothy Hoffman (Strongsville), Joseph Lawrence (Cuyahoga Falls/Archbishop Hoban), John Sternasty (Akron/Revere), and Daniel Waldmann (Amelia). In addition, sophomores Mitchell Colvin (Tipp City/Tippecanoe), Todd Federici (Findlay), Andrew Mills (Cincinnati/St. Xavier), Danny Sasak (Berea/Midpark), Jacob Scheufler (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North), Keagan Shapiro (Liberty Township/Lakota East), and Walkinshaw were added to the listing.
To receive Academic All-OAC honors, student-athletes must be a sophomore-or-higher in academic standing, maintain varsity-level status during the season, and hold a minimum 3.50 cumulative grade-point average.
Bachwitz, Fickenworth, and Walkinshaw each earned their second academic honor while the remaining 10 student-athletes were awarded their first academic accolade.
Bachwitz, who is a junior construction management major, earned his second consecutive Academic All-OAC nod after being tabbed to the 2017 team.
Fickenworth, a third-year pharmacy student, appeared in a career-high 21 matches with 11 starts and recorded one goal from his defensive position. He now owns two career goals and four career points.
Hoffman, a junior Social Studies Education major from Strongsville, saw action in 20 total matches in 2018, starting a career-high 16 contests, and scored his first career goal in a 4-2 win over Oberlin. His career totals include one goal, an assist, three points, and nine shots to his credit.
Lawrence, a junior mechanical engineering major from Cuyahoga Falls, did not appear in a match for the Polar Bears this season, but was listed on the varsity roster throughout the 2018 campaign.
Sternasty, a pharmaceutical and health care business major, appeared in 19 matches with 12 starts and produced two assists. He now has five career points on five assists in 39 matches during his two seasons at the varsity level.
Waldmann, a construction management student-athlete from Amelia, was promoted to the active roster late in the season, but did not appear in a match during the campaign.
Colvin, a sophomore forward double-majoring in exercise physiology and spanish, started eight matches in 21 total appearance during the year. He has tallied one career assist and 19 total shots in his first two seasons.
Federici, a mechanical engineering major from nearby Findlay, competed in one contest this season, his collegiate debut in a 5-1 victory over Anderson (Ind.) on September 21.
Mills is a sophomore marketing major from Cincinnati, who made his collegiate debut in the OAC Tournament Finals against John Carroll on November 3. He would also collect his first career shot in the contest.
Sasak, who is also a sophomore marketing major, gains the honor after appearing in 21 matches this season with three starts. In his two-season career, the midfielder has five starts in 36 total matches and has registered 21 shots for the Polar Bears.
Scheufler is a sophomore studying accounting at ONU, who hails from Carol Stream, Illinois. He appeared in 13 matches off the bench in 2018 and notched a goal in the 9-0 rout of Cincinnati State on September 2. Schuefler now owns two career goals and an assist in 29 career matches.
Shapiro, a pharmaceutical and health care business major from Liberty Township, was promoted to the varsity team this season and appeared in three matches for ONU in 2018. He made his collegiate debut on September 18 in a 3-1 victory over Thomas More (Ky.).
Walkinshaw, an academic junior majoring in mechanical engineering, received his second Academic All-OAC honor after garnering the same award in 2017.
The Polar Bears opened the 2018 campaign with a 1-1 draw against the 2017 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference champions, Transylvania (Ky.), and a 9-0 rout over NJCAA foe Cincinnati State.
Northern would then suffer back-to-back losses against a talented Hope (Mich.) program and the No. 7-ranked Calvin (Mich.) Knights in the 2018 ONU Invitational. However, ONU rebounded quickly with seven consecutive victories to close their September slate, starting with a 3-0 upset over No. 19 Ohio Wesleyan at Olentangy Liberty High School.
In the conference season, Ohio Northern would post a 4-5 record, which qualified them for the OAC Tournament. The Polar Bears would edge Otterbein 1-0 and Capital 2-1 before concluding their 2018 campaign with a loss to John Carroll in extra penalty kicks (5-4) during the OAC Tournament Finals.