Elida triumphs, Bluffton falls in boys soccer regionals


Bluffton falls in boys soccer regionals

By Tom Usher - sports@limanews.com



Seth Mahlmeister, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during Wednesday night’s Division II regional semifinal against Sandusky at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium in Findlay.


Richard Parrish | The Lima News

Bluffton’s Braden Conrad shoots against Ottawa Hills during Wednesday night’s Division III regional semifinal at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium in Findlay.


Richard Parrish | The Lima News

Elida’s Logan Johnson, right, and Sandusky’s J.T. Johnson compete for the ball during Wednesday night’s Division II regional semifinal at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium in Findlay.


Richard Parrish | The Lima News

Bluffton’s Luke Young dribbles against Ottawa Hills during Wednesday night’s Division III regional semifinal at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium in Findlay.


Richard Parrish | The Lima News

FINDLAY — Elida freshman Seth Mahlmeister had a chance at an insurance goal with 10 minutes to go. But, somehow, he missed an empty net with the goalkeeper down.

No problem with Elida leading 1-0.

Mahlmeister scored twice in the final eight minutes to give Elida a 3-0 victory over Sandusky in the Division II boys soccer regional semifinals Wednesday at Graham Stadium.

“I was so mad when I missed that,” Mahlmeister said. “It was amazing (when I scored).’’

Elida (19-1) advances to the regional finals against Bay Saturday at a time and site to be named.

“He’s grinding right now and he’s dangerous,” Elida coach Tom Thomas said of Mahlmeister.

Elida had more offensive chances in the first half, but the first goal came on a fluke.

Mahlmeiser scooped up a loose ball in the box 9-yards out. He turned and hit a rocket shot at the net. The ball hit the back of a Sandusky defender and ended up in the back of the net.

That gave Elida a 1-0 lead with 21:10 left in the first half.

Ottawa Hills 4, Bluffton 2

Ottawa Hills jumped down with full force on two Bluffton mistakes.

And both resulted in the Bears’ first two goals.

Ottawa Hills posted a victory over Bluffton in the Division III boys soccer regional semifinals Wednesday at Graham Stadium.

It marked Bluffton’s second straight trip to the regional. The Pirates lost to Mansfield Christian 2-0 in the regional semifinals last year at Tiffin.

But six of the seven all-league players for Bluffton graduated.

“It’s a big stage and this team is not used to it,” Bluffton coach Steve Smucker said. “But it’s been an exceptional year. …. We had some good chances, but it was a bit of a puzzle to figure out, but we counter attacked more in the second half and that got us some results.”

Ottawa Hills dominated the midfield and led 4-0 at the half.

Bluffton kicked in a counter attack in the second half and cut the margin to 4-2.

Ottawa Hills (19-0-2) advances to the regional finals against the Mansfield Christian/Worthington Christian winner on Saturday at a time and site to be named.

Bluffton ends the year 12-6-2.

Ottawa Hills outshot Bluffton 18-4.

Ottawa Hills buzzed through the Bluffton 18-yard box in the first 10 minutes.

“It was about being patient,” Ottawa Hills coach Nate Baer said. “We wanted to make sure we valued the ball.’’

Then the Bears got the break it was looking for.

Ottawa Hills Ignacio Garcia-Mata came up with a steal from a Bluffton defender deep in the Ottawa Hills offensive end.

Garcia-Mata dribbled into the 18 and fed Kevin Hileman, who hammered a goal from 12-yards out.

That gave the Bears a 1-0 lead with 17:55 left in the first half. It was Hileman’s 34th goal of the year.

“Number 6 (Hileman), we had trouble with him,” Smucker said.

Then, it was another steal and another goal for the Bears.

This time Dylan Schreder came up with the steal just outside the 18. He did a spin move after the steal and ripped a shot from the top of the arc just under the crossbar for a goal.

That gave Ottawa Hills a 2-0 lead with 10:09 left in the first half.

“We tried to press high and we were putting them under pressure in the final third,” Baer said.

Then, just 19 seconds later, Jack Silk scored off a pass from Hileman. That pushed the Bears’ lead to 3-0 at the 9:50 mark.

Schroeder’s breakaway goal from 10-yards out gave Ottawa Hills a 4-0 lead with 15 seconds left in the first half.

Bluffton goalkeeper Dakoda Clymer made 10 saves. Bears goalkeeper Tommy Coil had one save.

Bluffton’s Jesse Montel scored, on a nifty pass from Luke Young, with 31:29 left in the match. That got Bluffton within 4-1.

Braden Conrad scored from Tristan Smucker and the Pirates cut the lead to 4-2 with 22:22 to go.

Seth Mahlmeister, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during Wednesday night’s Division II regional semifinal against Sandusky at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium in Findlay.
http://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2017/11/web1_Elid-vs-Sandusky-RP-004-1.jpgSeth Mahlmeister, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during Wednesday night’s Division II regional semifinal against Sandusky at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium in Findlay. Richard Parrish | The Lima News
Bluffton’s Braden Conrad shoots against Ottawa Hills during Wednesday night’s Division III regional semifinal at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium in Findlay.
http://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2017/11/web1_Bluffton-vs-OH-RP-001-1.jpgBluffton’s Braden Conrad shoots against Ottawa Hills during Wednesday night’s Division III regional semifinal at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium in Findlay. Richard Parrish | The Lima News
Elida’s Logan Johnson, right, and Sandusky’s J.T. Johnson compete for the ball during Wednesday night’s Division II regional semifinal at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium in Findlay.
http://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2017/11/web1_Elid-vs-Sandusky-RP-005-1.jpgElida’s Logan Johnson, right, and Sandusky’s J.T. Johnson compete for the ball during Wednesday night’s Division II regional semifinal at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium in Findlay. Richard Parrish | The Lima News
Bluffton’s Luke Young dribbles against Ottawa Hills during Wednesday night’s Division III regional semifinal at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium in Findlay.
http://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2017/11/web1_Bluffton-vs-OH-RP-008-1.jpgBluffton’s Luke Young dribbles against Ottawa Hills during Wednesday night’s Division III regional semifinal at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium in Findlay. Richard Parrish | The Lima News
Bluffton falls in boys soccer regionals

By Tom Usher

sports@limanews.com