BATH TOWNSHIP – Two teams with two different strategies.
Bath came into Tuesday’s game against Lima Central Catholic with an aggressive game plan.
LCC, which was riddled with injuries, wanted to defend and patiently look for opportunities to break away for a score.
In Tuesday’s second game of the fifth annual Bath Kickoff Classic, Bath took 18 shots on goal, en route to a 3-0 win over LCC in boys soccer action.
In the first game Tuesday, Continental (1-0) slipped past Paulding (0-1) 1-0 to advance to Thursday’s championship game against Bath (1-0), which is set for 7 p.m. Paulding and LCC (0-1) will tangle in the consolation contest, starting at 5 p.m.
It was a game of missed opportunities for Bath as the Wildcats took a total of eight shots at LCC goalkeeper Kyle Smith (six saves in the first half). The T-Birds, on the other hand, got off just one clean shot in the first 40 minutes of action. That one shot proved to be the only shot by the T-Birds for the entire game.
Bath finally notched its first goal of the game, at the 29:17 mark of the second half, on an ‘own goal.’ A loose scramble inside the box resulted in the ball bouncing off an LCC defender and into the back of the goal.
Once Bath got on the scoreboard, it didn’t take long for the next goal.
Just three minutes later, Jordan Sellers rifled a shot from 20 yards out to notch the second goal for the Wildcats. Sellers had a total of four shots on the night.
“We’ve focused on our offense this year and it’s paying off,” Bath coach Wes Mason said. “Possession was strong. The opportunities were there and the balls didn’t bounce our way in the first half. But, we kept pushing forward and they started falling for us. Luckily, I also got to play some other guys and get that experience under their belts too.”
Bath’s final goal came with 13:31 left to play. Trey Burnett received a nice feed from Garret Norton, close to the net, and then drove it past Smith.
“Coming into the game, we knew we lost a lot of offensive firepower (due to injuries),” LCC coach Garry Tabler said. “Last night, we had one of our main defenders (senior Jaret Brown) fracture his foot in practice. So, we changed our formation and our philosophy for this game, and brought another guy back on defense. And our goal was to just play defense and let them possess the ball. Then, when we could, take possession of it, counter-attack with our speed out top. It worked well in the first half, but I think we just got wore down in the second half. We have five or six guys – out of 22 on our team – that are hurt.”
Bath possessed the ball well in the second half, which made the short-handed T-Birds work even harder.
“That second goal, their whole team seemed deflated,” Mason said. “That really allowed us to just possess. It would have been nice to be able to finish a few more, especially early. But, we played well and limited their chances big-time. … And that’s what we need to do.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.