LIMA — It seemed like it was only a matter of time.
Lima Central Catholic had the ball and was circling the net. It just had trouble delivering it in the back of the net.
The T-Birds then changed up their strategy and that made the difference.
LCC scored three second-half goals and pulled away to a 5-0 victory over Lincolnview to capture the Division III boys soccer sectional championship Saturday at Lima Stadium.
“We made some adjustments at halftime,” LCC coach Bryan Burkholder said. “It the first half we were trying to put the ball over the top rather than use misdirection. In the second half we used more misdirection.”
The key was taking the ball wide into the corners, then crossing it into the 18-yard box.
“At halftime coach talked of getting the ball to the corners because that’s how we’ve been scoring our goals all year,” LCC midfielder Zach Schroeder said. “The guys made some good runs down the middle and that’s what made it easier to score.”
LCC midfielder Matt McNamara led the offense with two goals and one assist. Sean Daley and Schroeder both had one goal and one assist. Jacob Tabler scored one goal for the T-Birds.
“They’re all three seniors (McNamara, Daley and Schreoder) and four-year starters on varsity,” Burkholder said. “Their hard work has finally paid off.”
LCC (14-3-1) advances to the district semifinals against Miller City at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Kalida. Lincolnview ends its year 2-10-2.
LCC outshot Lincolnview, 20-4. T-Birds goalkeeper Ben Stechschulte had four saves for the shutout.
“We played most of the game in their end of the goal. I’m happy with that,” Burkholder said.
LCC defeated the Lancers, 6-0, the first time the teams played.
However, on Saturday, it took until midway through the first half for the T-Birds to score.
Daley took a pass 12-yards out from Schroeder and hit a low liner for LCC’s first goal with 19:02 left in the first half.
When McNamara’s hard shot dribbled through the goalkeeper’s hands and into the net it became 2-0 with 14:31 left in the first half.
“I got a little lucky roll,” McNamara said.
Tabler scored on a shot from 30-yards out when his laser just sneaked under the bar in the upper-left corner of the net. That made it 3-0 with 28:46 to go.
McNamara’s goal, on a pass from Daley, pushed the LCC lead to 4-0 with 18:36 to go.
“This year we’ve (Daley, Schroeder and McNamara) relied on each other a lot because we’ve been more of the go-to guys this year,” McNamara said. “We’re used to playing with each other every day.”
Daley said, “We’ve been playing with each other for a long time, not just during the season. We play indoor, in the summer, we go to camps together. We’ve been playing soccer year-around together for a long time. There’s a lot of non-verbal communication.”
LCC’s defense also played well when the Lancers made a rare run through the midfield. LCC’s Ryan Recker, Connor AbouJaoude, Luke Baumgartner, Joseph Eisele and Dylan Niese were all steady at the back end.
“We go to practice every day and we seem to get better and build on that,” Burkholder said. “At this point in the season that’s all I can ask for.”