|Miller City shuts out Big Green in tourney|
|Monday, October 21, 2013 12:16 AM|
By JIM METCALFE
While the first match was in rainy weather, this matchup saw sunny yet windy weather.
The Wildcats (9-6-2) seemed to have a more aggressive approach, though neither squad had a ton of tries on-goal.
“We won most of the 50-50 balls. It all started with our defense,” Miller City head coach Tom Klear asserted. “We have a lot of confidence in Hunter and when he plays as well as he did, that gives the rest of the defense more confidence. We get our midfield and forwards more involved and we can push ahead.”
The Big Green (11-4-2) had the first legitimate effort just 30 seconds into the match by former keeper Colin Bendele but the shot was just wide left from 16 yards.
Miller City’s first shot on-goal came at the 38-minute spot but Jeremy Balbaugh’s 25-yarder was gobbled up by Big Green keeper Austin Markward (4 saves vs. 8 shots),
The Wildcats got that all-important first goal at the 35:13 mark. On a quick counterattack, Jackson Lammers got a defender on his hip and dribbled to the right wing, where his 16-yarder found the left side of the cords.
Miller City threatened to make it a 2-goal lead just 57 ticks later when Jared Snyder let loose from the top of the box but Markward made a diving deflection.
Ottoville tried to tie it at 31:02 when Lucas Maag had a try from 16 yards but Miller City netminder Hunter Berner (6 saves, 11 shots) nabbed it.
The Wildcats had a chance to get a 2-goal lead at 21:10 as Snyder fired from the top of the box but the effort went just over the cross bar.
At 19:50, the Green and Gold had a serious effort in front of the goal; the keeper came out off a throw-in and Drew Williams had an open look from eight yards; however, defender Josh Inkrott saved the day and made a kick save.
The Green again tried for a tie at 9:21 but Jared Fanning missed just wide on an open 16-yarder along the left wing.
Ottoville seemed to have a renewed sense of urgency in the second half but didn’t have a real legitimate scoring try until 29:30 when, once again, Berner got caught out of position, exposing the goal; once more, a defender — Travis Niese — kicked away an effort by Fanning.
The Big Green had four chances in the next 12 minutes: at 26:50, when Joel Beining’s lefty boot on a corner kick from the left side nearly curled in, forcing a keeper save; at 25:35, when Beining was denied from 23 yards; at 24:05, when Bendele’s 8-yarder in front was deflected by a defender; and 17:35, when Berner stymied a 16-yarder by Maag.
The Wildcats seemed to break the backs of the Big Green at 14:17. Off a pass from the center to the left wing by Trent Niese, Drew Recker went high side inside the left post from 14 yards for a 2-nil advantage.
“Getting that second goal was crucial because Ottoville is so explosive; they can score in a hurry,” Klear added. “They have a great team and they are so well-coached; no lead is safe but that goal really gave us more confidence. We had beaten them 2-1 during the season, so we knew it would be a tough battle coming in.”
Ottoville did fight back with two more tries on the goal but once more, Berner was up to the task: at 11:23, when he staved off a 14-yarder by Bendele; and at 9:50, leaping to snare a 28-yard free kick by Alex Horstman.
The Wildcats did break the Big Green backs at 6:45; off a steal, Jared Snyder made a nice individual move down the right side, juked past a defender and had a 1-on-1 with the keeper; Markward tried to come out and cut off the angle by the junior just slid a 12-yarder underneath the diving keeper for a 3-0 score.
Miller City will take on the Lincolnview/LCC winner at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Kalida.
Three Big Green players: Maag, Alex Horstman and Jordan Kelch; played their final matches.
Head coach Eric Gerker was unavailable for comment.