Ohio Wesleyan University Transcript: 20 Years Later

I went back to the archives to pull out an article I wrote 20 years ago as the Sports Editor of the Transcript, the Ohio Wesleyan University student newspaper, the oldest independent student newspaper in the nation.

The article below was about an eventful soccer game, and after the paper came out, the OWU coach told me he appreciated the fact that I didn’t make the brawl the main focus of the game.

Here is the article, from 20 years ago.  The paragraphs seem short because the paper had columns that were about 1.5 inches wide.

Men’s Soccer Team Wins Brawl-Marred Game

By Mike Frandsen, Sports Editor

Charlie Blanchard scored a goal in the opening minutes of each half to lead the Ohio Wesleyan men’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Oakland (Michigan) in a physical battle Friday at Roy Rike Field.

“This was our best win of the year,” said Bishops coach Jay Martin.

Blanchard also scored a goal in a 2-1 loss at Wilmington Tuesday.

Bishops Still No. 1 in Nation

Oakland, last year’s Division II runner-up, came into the game off a win over Division I Cleveland State.

The Bishops, ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division III, improved their record to 14-3.

“They have a good team,” said Pioneer coach Gary Parsons.  “They played a good, high-pressure game.”

The game was marred by a bench-clearing brawl with just over a minute left in the game.  Blanchard and Domenic Romanelli of Ohio Wesleyan and Alan Stewart of Oakland were each issued red cards.  A red card is an automatic one-game suspension.

Blanchard Scores Two

Blanchard scored just four minutes into the game on a penalty kick after teammate Bob Barnes was tripped by an Oakland defender in the penalty box.

The rest of the half went back and forth with each team having chances to score.

Ohio Wesleyan went into the locker room at halftime with a 1-0 lead.

Blanchard scored another quick goal to open the second half, this time less than two minutes after the intermission.  Romanelli assisted on Blanchard’s 18th goal of the year.  With 20 minutes left in the game Earl Parris had a breakaway for Oakland. Bishop defender Basil Levy tripped Parris and was called for a foul.

Kaplan guessed wrong on the penalty kick and broke to his right as John Stewart put the ball in the other side of the net.

Oakland’s best chance to tie the game came two minutes later when Paul Phillips outran two Bishop defenders.  But Kaplan grabbed the ball and made one of his 11 saves for the game.

Bench Clearing Brawl

The bench-clearing brawl occurred with 1:25 remaining in the contest.

Romanelli was dribbling the ball in Oakland territory in front of the Bishop bench.  Alan Stewart of the Pioneers kicked Romanelli in the leg right after Romanelli kicked the ball away.  Romanelli turned around and shoved Stewart, and Stewart shoved Romanelli back.

Then, all hell broke loose.

Several Ohio Wesleyan players left the bench and ran after Stewart. Immediately, every player on both teams ran from the field or the bench and an all-out brawl ensued.  Martin tried to break up the fight as did the referees but the melee lasted for several minutes.

At least five different fights were in progress at the same time near the sideline.

Coaches Upset

Parsons was furious after the game.  “I don’t approve of the fact that their (Ohio Wesleyan’s) bench unloaded on a player on the field.  That is not a class act.”

Martin agreed.  “I am mad about it too.  It was 100 percent wrong.”

Blanchard said, “They just went out to protect Domenic.”

Bishop midfielder Eric Warn said Martin had mixed emotions in the locker room after the game.

“He said he feels great and at the same time feels terrible because we came together as a team but the fight is not something he likes to happen,” Warn said.

Referees Criticized

Parsons said the referees let the game get out of hand by not calling enough fouls on both teams.

“The referees allowed the players to foul from behind,” he said.  Parsons said most of the non-calls should have gone against the Bishops.

Martin pointed out that the referees called 19 fouls against the Bishops and only eight against the Pioneers.  Martin added that the referees did lose control of the game.

Martin said that the Oakland game, which followed a 2-1 loss to Wilmington Tuesday, might have been a turning point for the Bishops.

“If we didn’t play well we would have been in trouble the rest of the season,” Martin said.

Ohio Wesleyan will end its NCAC schedule against Denison Saturday in Granville.

Martin said the Bishops need to beat either Kenyon or Denison to receive an NCAA tournament bid.

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