OTTOVILLE — On a sunny but cool Monday night, the Lima Temple Christian Pioneers came to the Ottoville Big Green Sports Complex to take on the Big Green in a non-league boys soccer match.
The Pioneers came to play from the opening whistle as only 20 seconds into the contest, junior Taylor Zwiebel broke through the defense and only had Big Green senior Matt Burgei and the goalie to beat. As it has been all year, Burgei was up to the task and cleared the ball away before any damage could be done.
However, at the 37:49 mark, Zwiebel again found himself with a scoring opportunity and did not disappoint as his shot slithered into the net, giving the Pioneers an early 1-0 lead.
Sometimes, you’re better off lucky than good as at the 35:24 mark when Big Green junior Alex Horstman sent a throw-in from the far right side in front of the goal mouth. The ball was right on target and with some strange bounces, glanced right off of a couple of Pioneer defenders and into the goal, knotting the score 1-1.
The remainder of the first half found both teams with various scoring opportunities, especially the Big Green; however, no further shots found the back of the goal in the first 40 minutes.
The Big Green outshot the Pioneers 5-2 for the half.
Big Green head coach Eric Gerker has commented all year about having his team play 80 minutes strong, not just one half, or 60 minutes. He had to be pleased with his team’s performance in the second half as they put on a scoring blitz that netted them five goals in the half and missed on several other scoring attempts throughout the half.
Gerker saw a big change in the second half out of his team: “Tale of two halves again. The first half, we tried to attack certain aspects of their defense. However, we weren’t having a lot of success. We were making a lot of fundamental mistakes with our touches and bad passes. The second half, we made some adjustments at halftime and really picked up the level and speed of our play during the entire half. If we can put a full 80 minutes together, we can do a lot of good things out there and we’re getting closer to that goal.”
Senior Dylan Klima was able to find the back of the net quickly as he scored at the 39:36 mark.
At 34:41, senior Anthony Eickholt found Klima for his second goal, making it a 3-1 lead for the home team.
At the 22:13 mark, junior Lucus Maag got into the scoring column with the fourth goal for the Big Green.
Senior Logan Gable scored at the 12:11 mark.
The final goal for the Big Green came at the 5:45 mark when Horstman’s throw-in was headed towards the goal by freshman Drew Williams to fellow freshman Jared Fanning for the sixth and final goal of the evening for the hosts.
The Pioneers, coached by BJ McPheron, had a couple of scoring opportunities but the Big Green defense anchored by Burgei and goalie Colin Bendele stopped any possible threat on the goal, preserving the 6-1 win for the hosts.
The Big Green outshot the Pioneers 15-8 for the contest.
The Pioneers (2-8-2) will travel to Continental Thursday for a 5 o’clock start with the Pirates. The Big Green (7-3-1) will entertain the Miller City Wildcats Friday night for a key PCL game starting at 7 o’clock.
Temple Christian 1 0 - 1
Ottoville 1 5 - 6
Shots on-Goal: Temple Christian 8, Ottoville 15. Saves: Rex (Temple Christian) 9, Bendele (Ottoville) 7.