FINDLAY — In the end, it was brotherly love that doomed Kalida.
Mansfield Christian’s Josh Cochran scored a late goal off an assist from brother David Cochran to beat Kalida 1-0 in a Division III regional final boys soccer match at Findlay High School on Saturday.
Mansfield Christian improved to 20-1 and will play in the state semifinals Wednesday. Kalida finishes its season 15-3-3.
The lone goal came with 10:21 remaining. At the 10:40 mark, Mansfield Christian was awarded an indirect kick from just outside the goal box. David Cochran lofted the ball over Kalida’s defense to Josh Cochran, who was set up in the center of the box.
Josh Cochran got the pass, turned and buried a score in the back of the net.
“They’ve done that a few times,” Mansfield Christian coach Jesse Rider said. “They certainly knew what they were going to do there. We saw them talking and thought something was coming.”
Kalida coach Mark Czubik said his team tried to push up to defend the kick.
“I think maybe we pushed up a little too high, allowing them to chip the ball in around our wall,” Czubik said.
Following the goal, Kalida unleashed a furious attempt to tie the match and managed some dangerous shots on goal.
“Our guys did a good job of understanding the situation,” Rider said. “They did a good job of getting in front of the ball and denying everything they had.”
The Wildcats had three solid opportunities in the final five minutes. At the 4:16 mark, Devin Kortokrax smacked a shot that went wide right. Then, at about the three-minute mark, Kalida sent in two shots off a corner kick but wasn’t able to score.
“Devin had a great opportunity and unfortunately it didn’t go in,” Czubik said. “Our kids were just fighting like the dickens. We didn’t have a lot of opportunities, but the ones we did have were good ones.”
For the first 25 minutes of the match, the Flames used their speed and skill to control possession for some solid shots on goal that Kalida’s defense batted away.
“About the last fourth of the season, our defense has really picked it up for us, and they’ve been the catalyst for what we’ve done in the tournament,” Czubik said. “Going in we knew they were going to pressure us on the ball, and our kids were not very good at that at the beginning. It took awhile to adjust. We just told them, stay calm, stay composed. As the game wore on, they realized they had more time with the ball, and they had teammates to help.”
Toward the end of the first half, Kalida began controlling the ball more. By halftime, the Wildcats only had one less shot, 7-6, than the Flames.
“Kalida is a very tough, physical team,” Rider said. “They did a good job of controlling our midfield, which hasn’t happened to us much this year. We couldn’t get any rhythm to the game. We had a lot of turnovers and unforced errors and made it a lot harder than it needed to be.”
Most of the second half was similar as both teams fought and clawed for possessions. Kalida nearly scored at the 13:09 mark when Ryan Siefker got the ball on a breakaway only to have his shot go wide left.
Mansfield Christian finished with a slight lead on overall shots, outshooting Kalida 15-11.
“Our kids played great today,” Czubik said. “We just didn’t have enough at the end.”