Ritch sends Generals to ODAC semifinals after two second-half goals

Dylan Ritch

LEXINGTON, Va. – Two goals in a three-minute span in the second half from senior midfielder Dylan Ritch (Mint Hill, N.C./Independence) lifted the top-seeded Washington and Lee men's soccer team to a 2-0 win over eighth-seeded Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon in the ODAC quarterfinals.

The win improves W&L to 12-3-1 overall and marked the 12th consecutive game without a loss for the Blue and White, tying the program record set in 2000.

The game was scoreless through nearly 80 minutes of play when senior defender Jack Miller (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) made a run with the ball inside the Marlins' (5-12-1) goal box and was fouled, earning the Generals (12-3-1) a penalty kick. Ritch stepped up to the challenge and buried his shot past the diving goalkeeper for the game's opening score.

Less than three minutes later, a free kick was awarded to W&L from about 20 yards out. Ritch and senior defender Will Rowson (Fairfax, Va./Robinson Secondary School) stood over the ball before Rowson cleared out for Ritch to take the shot. With a soft touch, Ritch looped the ball over the wall of defenders and just under the crossbar for his second goal of the game to put the match out of reach for the Marlins.

Virginia Wesleyan's best scoring chance in the contest came in the 70th minute when a short cross got the head of first-year midfielder Evan Kastetter, who had just entered the game as a sub 20 seconds prior. Kastetter flicked the ball to the far-right post, but W&L first-year goalkeeper Michael Nyc's (Kildeer, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson) hands were quick enough to snare the ball for the save to keep the game scoreless.

Ritch shot four times in the game, with his goals being the only two attempts he put on target. His two goals give him 11 on the season, one shy of tying his single-season career high of 12, set during the 2016 season. He has also now scored in five consecutive games, logging eight goals in that span, for the longest such streak of his career and the third longest stretch in program history.

Senior midfielder Viktor Dolberg (Clovis, Calif./Floyd B. Buchanan) led the team with a game-high 10 shots, four on goal, with a couple shots missing just wide of the frame in the second half. Ritch was next with his four followed by four other Generals with two shots each.

The Marlins' offense was paced by sophomore forward Kevin Prophet and junior midfielder Shaun Brooks, who both tallied two shots with one attempt on goal apiece. First-year goalkeeper Griffin Potter (4-9-1) conceded the two second-half goals but made seven saves in his 90 minutes of work.

Nyc made four saves for the Generals to improve to 11-1-1 on the season and posted his fourth consecutive shutout and fifth in the last six games. Nyc has allowed just one goal in his last seven appearances and has a scoreless streak of 584:00 over those games.

The Generals outshot the Marlins, 26-7, in the game and earned five corner kick opportunities to one for Virginia Wesleyan.

W&L will face-off against fourth-seeded Roanoke on Saturday at 11:30 am in the ODAC semifinals at Watt Field.

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