BATH — On Tuesday night, Bath’s girls soccer team did something that probably few teams in the past can say they’ve done: Finish undefeated in conference play and still not win the title.
Bath defeated Western Buckeye League champion Celina 2-1 to finish 6-0-3 in the conference. Celina’s 8-1-0 record yielded more total WBL points than Bath to give the Bulldogs the outright championship.
“We’ve been kind of up-and-down this season,” Bath coach Morgan Lathaway said. “We definitely capitalized on opportunities tonight. This game wasn’t out of our potential, and we knew that.”
Bath took a 1-0 lead with 23:18 left in the first half when Alyssa Manley headed the ball from the far right side of the goal just past Celina goalie Lydia Cron, who chased the ball all the way into the left side of the net.
“We had a lot of quick passes that got us down the field,” Manley said. “I got an excellent ball from Quinn (Bok), and I just got a head on it. It really got everyone excited, but we were able to settle down and keep playing.”
Bath seemed to play the rest of the half with their backs up against the net, with the offense failing to take possession away from Celina. The Wildcat defense was able to fend off Celina’s kicks throughout the half, including keeping the Bulldogs from scoring on an empty net. Finally, Katie Stahl scored a goal on a corner kick by Taylor Guingrich to tie the game with two minutes left in the half.
Bath’s Alex Schroeder scored the final goal with 30 minutes remaining in the game, giving the Wildcats a 2-1 lead that would stick the rest of the way.
This matchup is one like many expect to see when the playoffs start next week.
“I’m hoping that we get another shot at ‘em,” Celina coach Cal Freeman said. “I expect them to play well in the tournament. They’re obviously a good team that can come out and score against other teams.”
“(Celina’s) one of the top teams in our league,” Lathaway said. “It definitely prepares us well for the competitive matches coming up in the tournaments. And coming out here and getting a win definitely gives my girls that extra fire to keep working hard.”
Because of the WBL’s points system that rewards wins over ties 3 to 1, Celina was able to clinch the league title with their victory over Kenton. Bath finishes the regular season undefeated, finishing 10-0-5. Celina falls to 12-4-0 overall.
“We’ve played very well in other league games,” Freeman said. “I’m a little disappointed in how we played tonight. I really wanted for our girls to go undefeated. But when we got our opportunities, we didn’t take advantage of them. I thought they were ready today, but when the game started you could tell where the momentum was and it really never left them.”