ELIDA — Ottawa-Glandorf appeared determined to pop a few championship balloons.
But Elida would have no one spoiling its championship celebration.
Elida rallied to score three unanswered goals late in the first half to notch a 4-2 boys soccer victory over O-G on Thursday night.
The victory earned Elida the Western Buckeye League championship.
It marks Elida’s first WBL boys soccer title since 2009. It’s Elida’s ninth boys soccer WBL title, which ranks first overall in WBL history.
“It’s unbelievable,” Elida sweeper Riley Bartels said. “Just to know we are a part of that history now. It’s so special.’’
Added Elida midfielder Jake Taylor, “It’s amazing for the program. Ever since we came in as freshmen, this is what we wanted. It’s nice to actually get it done.’’
As the match went on, the wet field got muddier and muddier down the middle.
“It’s so muddy right there,” Bartels said. “But we adapted to it. We went down a few goals, but our team shows the ability to bounce back.’’
Elida is 15-1, 8-1 WBL (24 points). O-G is 9-3-2, 5-3-1 WBL.
“I wanted the boys to experience this and I’m so happy for my team,” Elida coach Tom Thomas said.
For Elida, freshman Seth Mahlmeister, Sebastian Kunkleman, Bartels and Logan Johnson all scored goals. Mahlmeister and Kunkleman also had an assist.
O-G started quickly and took a 1-0 lead on a Bryce Schroeder goal with 38:37 left in the first half.
Kunkleman tied it for Elida at 1, on a pass from Mahlmeister with 16:33 left in the first half.
On the following kickoff, O-G’s Evan Balash took the kickoff and booted it high from midfield. It easily cleared the Elida goalkeeper’s head, who had come out of the box, and landed in the back of the net.
The score from midfield, at 16:28 of the first half, gave O-G a 2-1 lead.
From there, Elida flipped on the turbo chargers and began flying all over the field.
“After we saw that one go in we knew it was now or never,” Taylor said. “Either we switched the burners on we go down.’’
Thomas said, “Their second goal caught our goalkeeper by surprise. I think that kick started us.’’
Bartels thought it was the turning point.
“I think that really woke us up,” Bartels said.
Only 21 seconds after the O-G goal, Elida came up field and Mahlmeister pounded a rocket shot into the net from 15-yards out.
That tied the game at 2 with 16:07 left before halftime.
Seven minutes later, Mahlmeister was tripped with the ball inside the 18-yard box.
Penalty kick, Elida.
Thomas chose sweeper and free-kick specialist Bartels to take the kick.
Bartels went up the middle with the penalty kick and it found the net.
“That was my third one this year,” Bartels said. “It was slight right (of center).’’
That gave Elida the lead to stay 3-2 with 9:58 left in the first half.
Elida made it 4-2 when Johnson one-timed a shot on a pass from Kunkleman with 2:59 left in the first half.
Elida’s midfield dominated play in the second half, even though no goals were scored.
Taylor, Draek Littler, Noah Davis, Kunkleman, Cody Gay and Corbin Fingerle all dominated in the midfield.
Bartels and Keagan Layman held things together on the back line.
Elida outshot O-G 15-7 overall and 6-2 in the second half.
O-G goalkeeper Ethan Alt made seven saves. Elida goalkeeper Caleb Jones had three saves.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.