|Flames eliminate Kalida boys in soccer regional final|
|Monday, November 04, 2013 12:00 AM|
By JIM METCALFE
After a scoreless first half on the wet pitch that saw limited shots on-goal, the Flames (20-1) went to their ball-control attack in the second 40 minutes to try and find openings against the Kalida 11.
However, all they managed in the first 20 minutes were three shots that missed the frame: at 35:52 on a 22-yarder by Samuel Paul; at 31:43, a 35-yarder by Nate Adalem; and at 28:55, another 35-yard floater that was over the top.
The Wildcats (15-3-3) had a prime chance at 31:06 on a 16-yarder by senior Ian Richey but first a defender slowed the ball down, then keeper Caleb Young (4 saves vs. 4 shots on-goal) got the snag.
At the 18:21 mark, Adalem had a 35-yard floater off a free kick that forced Kalida junior netminder Brent Hovest (6 saves vs. 7 shots on-goal) to punch the orb away.
At 15:13, Mansfield kept up the pressure but Josh Cochran knocked a 30-yarder riser over the bar.
The Maroon and White had an opening at 13:06 when junior Ryan Siefker got a good look from 12 yards but missed just wide left.
However, he did not miss the next one. At the 10:21 mark, his younger brother, David Cochran, had a free kick from nearly the same spot — in the middle — as the previous shot. However, chipped it over the 3-man Wildcat wall and into the 18, where Josh Cochran got behind the defense and put a 12-yarder past Brent Hovest and into the right side of the net.
“That was a nice play by them and one of the few mistakes we made today. We allowed (Cochran) to get behind us and we weren’t quick enough to respond,” Kalida mentor Mark Czubik explained. “Other than that, we played a tremendous match. They have so many weapons — they have at three guys that can score and up to five, plus we only had 36 hours to prepare a game plan. They are fast and quick they aren’t (20-1) for no reason. Still, we stayed right with them and fought and battled to the end, played hard for 80 minutes; I couldn’t be prouder. Our best just wasn’t good enough today.”
Mansfield first-year coach Jesse Rider had seen this all before.
“Those two have done that a few times this year. It was great execution,” Rider explained. “Kalida was such a tough team for us. It’s been a long time since we were shut out the first half, they were that good defensively. We struggled with their midfield and we had to adjust to that. We had too many turnovers and made our job a lot harder. Still, this isn’t a bad first year for me as coach here.”
The Wildcats now upped the pressure. They tried to retaliate just 13 seconds after when senior Trevor Guisinger knocked a 16-yarder on the right wing that forced a diving stop by Young.
Mansfield had a chance to get more breathing room at 9:10: Brendon Ernsberger let loose from 18 yards on the left side and forced a deflection by Hovest; J. Cochran had a follow shot that went just wide right.
With 4:12 left in their season, the Wildcats almost tied it on a 12-yarder by junior Devin Kortokrax but he couldn’t quite get control of it and sent it just wide right.
Junior Logan Roebke booted a 19-yarder that was deflected by a defender and then gobbled up by the Mansfield keeper.
With time running out, Kalida brought Hovest into the offensive end to try and get the equalizer but the last chance they had was at the 29-second mark when junior Luke Langhals was wide left on a 35-yarder.
“We had some chances all match long. We were trying to the end; we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” Czubik continued. “We have five seniors (Richey, Guisinger, Adam Langhals, Matt Faber and Andrew Krouse) and they stepped up big today. They all played great matches; it’s what you expect out of your seniors.”
The Flames (20-1) secured a berth in Wednesday’s Division III State semifinal — at Nordonia High School — against Gates Mills Hawken (13-7-1), a 4-0 victor over previously unbeaten Doylestown Chippewa (17-1-3). Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
“This group came so far this year; they worked hard every day to get better,” Czubik added. “When we lost our first match 5-0, we really didn’t know what we had or what kind of season we were going to have. We came so far — I am not sure many people thought we’d make it within a match of going to State.”
The Wildcats, who secured this match after Wednesday’s 2-1 2-overtime victory over Toledo Ottawa Hills, had to adjust quickly to the speedy Flames attack and it took about 20 minutes to do so.
Fortunately, they didn’t give up a lot of open looks at the goal for Mansfield.
They had one at 23 minutes when Brandon Mount had a 16-yarder denied by Hovest.
Richey had a 30-yard free kick got just wide left at 16:49 for Kalida.
The Maroon and White had two solid efforts the rest of the half: at 8:55, when sophomore Grant Unverferth’s 22-yarder was denied by Young; and at 6:03, when Kortokrax fired a 25-yard riser just over the crossbar.
Mansfield had a golden opportunity at 5:15. Adalem made a nice move down the right side and Hovest came out to try and cut off the angle; however, after a brief but intense flurry, Hovest came up with the ball to prevent a shot.
Hovest preserved the scoreless first half at 2:57 when he dove to deny a 20-yard blast by Mount.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, November 05, 2013 4:28 PM|