Men’s Soccer has a Wenzler-Warriors-esque performance in home opener win over Capital


JCU Sports Information

Will Turrittin shoots the ball towards the net against Capital at Don Shula Stadium on Sunday, March 21, 2021.

Anna Meyer, Staff Reporter

On Sunday, March 21, the John Carroll University Men’s Soccer Team returned to the turf at Don Shula Stadium for the first time since their 2019 NCAA Division III Championship Tournament loss against Centre College on Nov. 17. 

The Blue Streaks got back to their winning ways at Wasmer Field, capturing their first home win of the season after blowing out the Capital Crusaders by a convincing score of 5-0 in Sunday afternoon’s contest. 

Sunday also marked the first time the Blue Streaks Men’s Soccer Team had taken the field since the passing of former John Carroll Sports Information Director Chris Wenzler. The Men’s Soccer Team has dedicated their season to playing in honor of Wenzler by wearing “CW” armbands for the season

During Wenzler’s 30 years at John Carroll, he covered 260 men’s soccer games. Before kickoff, the team honored him during the pregame, as his wife Melissa and children Madeline and Oliver watched from the stands. 

Oliver Wenzler (left), Melissa Wenzler (middle), Madeline Wenzler (right) hold up a t-shirt that was signed by the JCU Men’s Soccer Team at Don Shula Stadium on Sunday, March 21, 2021. (JCU Sports Information)

“It was something that we talked about in our pregame meeting and at halftime, that we knew we played for a bigger purpose today,” said John Carroll Associate Head Coach Dejan Mladenovic. “Chris was a great friend of the program. He was someone who always really cared about what we were doing on and off the field. We wanted to make sure that we represented the program well today and that we played a little bit harder for him to show how much he meant to us and to make sure we got the result that he deserves.”

The leading factor in the Blue Streaks’ win was taking advantage of the penalty kicks provided to them by Capital’s errors. 

The Blue Streaks got out to a fantastic start as senior captain Will Turrittin scored at the 10:50 mark of the first half to give John Carroll the early 1-0 lead off a penalty kick. Turtittin celebrated the goal by signaling his respect to the Wenzler family, motioning a heart made with his hands in honor of the late Wenzler.

The JCU Men’s Soccer Team points towards the Wenzler family after a goal against Capital at Don Shula Stadium on Sunday, March 21, 2021. (JCU Sports Information )

“That is something that I will never forget during the rest of my time as a John Carroll coach,” Mladenovic admitted. “It was a really special moment, and I am not going to lie, I had tears in my eyes. You can tell the connection between the Wenzler family and our program, and when Will did that, I think it was just a perfect moment, tribute and exchange between the Wenzler family and one of our top players.”

Nearly 10 minutes after the emotional goal, at the 20:51 mark of the game, the senior defender transfer from Cleveland State, Benjamin Hryszko, captured his first goal as a Blue Streak, giving the Blue and Gold a 2-0 lead against the Crusaders off a low right shot

Turrittin’s hot shooting from the PK line continued, as he was handed the opportunity to take a penalty kick for the second time at the 29-minute mark. Once again, he fired the ball into the back of the net giving John Carroll a 3-0 lead

Before time expired in the first half, Mario Abou-Mitri was rewarded with a penalty kick, the third of the game for John Carroll. Abou-Mitri’s PK attempt was good and pushed John Carroll into a 4-0 lead over Capital heading into the locker room. 

The second half was much quieter than the first in terms of offensive opportunities for both teams. John Carroll and Capital each recorded three shots in the second half of the play. 

The biggest save for JCU goalkeeper Connor Robinson came at the 64-minute mark after a foul was called inside the box on Max Hess. Capital’s Mitchell Hughes took the penalty kick, and Robinson had an outstanding save for the Blue Streaks. Robinson went on to record his second shutout of the season, courtesy of his four saves.

“Connor [Robinson] is getting better every day. He takes training and the game seriously. You can tell by how vocal he is and how he leads from the back,” said Mladenovic. “Every time he steps on the field, it is his goal to get better, and he is doing a really good job at that. Some of the saves he made today were tremendous.”

In the 88th minute, Gino Romeo scored a low right goal to give John Carroll the final goal of the game and add the icing on the cake for a 5-0 win on a sunny Sunday afternoon in University Heights. 

The JCU Men’s Soccer Team celebrates after beating Capital at Don Shula Stadium on Sunday, March 21, 2021.

John Carroll outshot the Capital Crusaders 16-8 and 10-4 on goal. Capital led the statistical category of fouls, with 23, as opposed to John Carroll’s 14. Capital received four yellow cards, and John Carroll compiled three throughout their victory.

“It was a great win. Capital is a very good team, and I know people will look at the final results and see 5-0 and think whatever about the game,” said Mladenovic. “It was a very good win against a very good team.” 

With the 5-0 victory over Capital, John Carroll improves to 2-0-0 and will look to remain undefeated as they host Otterbein University (1-1-1) on Thursday, March 25, at 7 p.m. at Don Shula Stadium.