It didn't take long for the Wilmington College men's soccer team to gain an edge, and the Fightin' Quakers defeated Albion, 3-1, Saturday in the final game of the 2016 Wilmington Kiwanis Classic on Townsend Field in Williams Stadium.
"They are a pretty good team, and on my scale, they are the best team we have played so far," said Wilmington head coach Bud Lewis. "Not to take away from any other teams that we have played, but they knock it around and they have real strong athletes. We defended better and we are getting smarter, which you want to do. If you have some adversity, you want to learn from it."
Wilmington took the lead it wouldn't relinquish in the ninth minute as sophomore Niklas Martensson (Torna Hallested, Sweden/NTI) deposited a corner kick from sophomore Benny Spirk (Wilmington, OH/Wilmington).
"I was really pleased with the corner kick," said Lewis. "We have been close, and that ball by Benny enabled Niklas to get high and it was a very convincing shot."
Martensson was in the middle of WC's second goal as he flicked a pass to freshman Carl Bergstrom (Gothemburg, Sweden / Elof Lindalv) in the 17th minute.
Holding onto the dangerous 2-nil lead, Wilmington made sure there would be no repeat from Friday's outcome. Junior Grady Garrison (Cincinnati, OH/McNicholas) combined with freshman Noah Wallis (Clarksville, OH/Landmark Christian) for a third goal. Wallis played the ball from near the corner flag to the far post, and Garrison was able to beat the keeper.
"In some respects, I think we relaxed a bit after getting the third goal, which is maybe how they ended up getting their goal," said Lewis. "There is no question it's very difficult to come back from a 3-0 deficit."
Albion netted its only goal in the 62nd minute, but the goal seemed to refocus the Fightin' Quaker defense, and the Britons didn't get any closer.
Lewis singled out the play of the back line of junior Chris Bourque (Batavia, OH/Batavia), junior Wes King (Zanesville, OH/West Muskingum) and junior Nils Asteberg (Ojersjo, Sweden/Porthalla Gymnasium).
Wilmington (2-1-1) stays home 8 p.m. Wednesday, hosting Transylvania on Townsend Field at Williams Stadium.