ASHLAND — It was not without controversy, but Bay Village Bay squeaked past Ottawa-Glandorf 2-0 in the Division II regional final boys soccer tournament at Ashland Community Stadium on an overcast cool afternoon.
Bay Village Bay will face either Cuyahoga Falls Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy or Hunting Valley University School in the state semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday at a site to be determined.
Early in the second half, Ottawa-Glandorf’s Matthew Kaufman was dribbling the ball toward the goal when the senior forward appeared to get tripped by a Bay Village Bay player. While the Titans waited for the call, the Rockets quickly went on the counter attack and senior midfielder Brady Kinsey beat Ottawa-Glandof goalkeeper Tyler Ellerbrock to put the Rockets up 1-0 with 36:06 left in the game.
“He (the referee) gave me an explanation as he was walking off the field,” Ottawa-Glandorf coach Mike Weihrauch said. “Because he (Kaufman) took two more steps, he felt he could gather himself. It’s one of those unfortunate things in the game of soccer. We were looking for a call and they went on the counter attack.”
Having to force the action and attack, the visiting Titans nearly evened the score three minutes later, but TJ Metzger hit the side netting from eight yards out.
“It’s the nature of the beast,” Bay coach Bobby Dougherty said. “You’re going to have times where you are chasing your tail.”
With 20 minutes left in the game, Metzger had a free kick 28 yards from goal. The right-footed midfielder beat the wall, but Bay goalkeeper Koray Saylr made a diving save and parried the ball wide of the goal.
At the 5:50 mark of the second half, the Titans had another golden opportunity. Eric Beckman’s long throw-in was headed by Metzger. Saylr reached out and behind with his left hand and made a one-handed stop.
“As a senior,” Dougherty said, “he’s a starter for three years. We’ve got a kid who’s as quick as a cat. He’s had five shutouts in the playoffs.”
The Titans continued to push, but the Rockets were able to answer at every opportunity.
“That’s the great thing about this group of kids,” Weihrauch said. “They keep fightning.”
Dan Linhart put the finishing touches on the game with a goal with 19.2 second left. The ball hit the crossbar and bounced into the goal.
The first half was a see-saw affair as both schools had limited chances. The Rockets had six shots, three on goal while the Titans managed three shots, two on goal in the first 40 minutes.
“The first half we tried to attack the middle and they were pretty strong,” Weihrauch said. “They played a 3-5-2 and once we could get it wide and counter attack, that was the way to go.”
Both teams had opportunities in the first five minutes of the game. Bay’s senior defender Chris Eaton had a direct free kick about 23 yards out. Ellerbrock was up to the challenge and made a routine save.
Two minutes later Saylr made a diving save on Metzger’s shot from about 18 yards out during the run of play.
For the game, Bay had 14 shots, nine on goal. The Titans had 10 shots, five on goal.