ELIDA – Celina junior midfielder Bekah Carr not only reaffirmed how dangerous she is on a soccer field Saturday, she also showed she has the tools to defend a dangerous player.
Carr scored twice – including the game-winning goal in overtime – for the Bulldogs, and spent most of the second half marking Bath star offensive weapon Alyssa Manley to help Celina win 2-1 in a Division II district championship girls soccer match at Elida.
It is Celina’s first-ever district title. The Bulldogs (13-2-4) will play Maumee at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Findlay High School in the regional semifinal. Bath finishes its season 12-4-2.
“We were hungry for it,” Carr said. “They beat us last year, and we wanted this bad.”
A year ago, Bath knocked off Celina for the Wildcats’ second-straight district title. This season, the two tied 1-1 to start the Western Buckeye League campaign and Celina went on to win the league title. Bath and St. Marys finished tied for second.
Carr began and finished the scoring Saturday. In the overtime period, Caelyn Reineke fed Carr a pass in front of the goal. As the ball came in, Carr and Bath keeper Aubrey Brandon attacked it, but Carr got there just in time to slip it into the goal at the 10:48 mark.
“I split the defenders, I knew Caelyn had the ball and she has good accuracy,” Carr said. “Their goalie did a great job attacking me, so I knew I had to slide down for it. When I slid, I touched it before she grabbed it, and it went in.
“It was a great feeling.”
Carr’s first goal came at the 28:29 mark of the first half to put Celina up 1-0. Again it was Reineke getting the assist when she sent in a corner kick that Carr headed in for a score.
Bath answered almost immediately when Alex Schroeder scored at the 24:52 mark off an assist from Ellie Dackin. That score was partially set up by Manley, who booted a shot that smacked off the goalie. Dackin pounced on the ricochet and sent a pass to Schroeder for the score.
From that point on, both teams had few chances to break the tie. In the second half, the Wildcats had two opportunities to score.
At the 18-minute mark, Schroeder got the ball deep inside the goal box all alone, but Celina keeper Callie Vogel came up with a huge save. Then, at the 12-minute mark, Manley sent in a nice shot that Schroeder tipped up and over the cross bar.
“I knew it would be a tough match for the whole 80 minutes, we even extended that a little bit,” Bath coach Morgan Lashaway said. “When your scoring opportunities are few and far between, you have to take advantage of it.”
One reason for the offensive struggles in the second half was because Carr was moved to defend Manley, the WBL Player of the Year. The adjustment took Carr out of the Celina offense and helped to slow down Bath’s top threat.
“She’s an all-around great player,” Carr said. “They thought I could match up with her. I haven’t played defense all year, but our defense is so good, they were worked really well with me.”
Toward the end of the second half, Celina coach Calvin Freeman moved Carr back to offense.
“We thought Bekah might be able to keep (Manley) from getting a breakaway ball,” Freeman said. “There were two opportunities for breakaways that Bekah was able to get to and intercept. So, it was a good decision. But it also hurt us offensively. In the overtime, we put Bekah back up top, and it turned out to be the right decision.”
Celina outshot Bath 8-7. Vogel finished with five saves while Brandon grabbed three saves in goal for Bath.
“This was a battle from the beginning,” Freeman said. “It’s just like last year, the girls played hard. It’s really a shame both teams couldn’t move on because the Western Buckeye League is so good.”
And it’s a battle that probably isn’t going to ease up anytime soon. Celina will lose just two seniors from this year’s team while Bath loses three.
“Both teams are very strong, we both played a great match,” Lashaway said. “Celina is a tough team, have been every year we’ve played them.
“Overall, it was a great season. We put a lot of time and effort into it. Not many teams can say they’ve made it to district finals three years in a row. We’ve come a long way in the past three years, so it’s something to be proud of.”