Boys soccer: Celina, St. Marys to meet in Division II district final

ELIDA — When all three Western Buckeye League co-champions are in the same district tournament, it’s safe to assume that it will not be easy to advance.

In Monday’s two Division II boys’ soccer district semifinals at the Elida Middle School Soccer Complex, Celina, St. Marys, and Shawnee – all co-champions in the WBL – squared off for spots for Thursday’s district championship.

Shawnee, last season’s Division II state champion, tangled with Celina in Monday’s second district semifinal.

It took just one goal to decide the outcome.

That one goal came with 18:58 left in the contest, when Celina’s Nelson Chapman received a nice feed from teammate Jake Knapke in front of the goal, and then pushed ball past Shawnee goalkeeper Drew Neidemire, for what would be the winning goal. Neidemire made four saves on the night.

With the thrilling 1-0 victory, Celina (18-1-0) will take on St. Marys (17-2-1) Thursday for the district title. Thursday’s championship match is set to start at 6 p.m. at Elida. Shawnee ends its season 11-2-3.

In Monday’s first semifinal, St. Marys defeated Elida (10-6-1) 3-1.

“It was two good teams playing tonight,” Celina head coach Ryan Jenkins said about his team’s matchup with Shawnee. “When we played them the first time, it was settled by one goal – and they got us. … Our goal was to get them. We played well enough to win, tonight. Defense played really well. Shutting these guys out was a tremendous job. We were fortunate enough to get a goal and get the win.”

For the contest, Celina took five shots on goal. Shawnee got off just two shots in the 80 minutes of action.

“Defending our final third – we did a really good job,” Jenkins said. “We really read their shots. There were a couple dangerous shots toward the end, but that’s going to happen in the game of soccer. That’s what makes it fun.”

Chapman, who scored the lone goal, took two of Celina’s five shots.

Jenkins said Thursday’s match with St. Marys should be a hard-fought affair. In the regular-season matchup (8/31), Celina defeated St. Marys 3-0.

“It was our first league game,” Jenkins said about his team’s regular season match with St. Marys. “So, both teams have changed since then. There are things we will have to get ready for.”

St. Marys 3, Elida 1

In Monday’s first semifinal, Elida took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.

However, in the second half, St. Marys scored three goals, en route to a 3-1 win over Elida.

Elida got on the scoreboard with 7:04 left to play in the first half, on a goal by Eben Jackson off a fast break.

In the second half, St. Marys’ Vincent Holtzapple knotted the contest 1-1 with a long-range shot at the 29:45 mark.

The Roughriders scored their next goal with 10:05 left to play. Will Menker drove one to the back of the net from a shot inside the box.

St. Marys put the contest away with a goal by Will Ross with 4:29 left to play.

After getting just two shots on goal in the first half, St. Marys reeled off seven shots in the final 40 minutes. Elida took three shots on goal in the first half, and then managed just one shot in the second half.

Elida goalkeeper Isaac Jones made six saves. St. Marys goalkeeper Cayden Ballweg turned away three Elida shots.

“We had to make a couple adjustments at halftime,” St. Marys head coach James Holtzapple said. “Obviously, Elida’s always a good team, and well-coached. They were frustrating us a little bit. I told my players that the season is irrelevant at this point because it’s the tournament. Nobody wants to go home. So, I told them that we better come prepared to play.

“Elida came prepared to play. But our boys stepped it up in the second half and were able to do what we needed to do. I’m really proud of them. They did a nice job.”

Match summaries

St. Marys 3, Elida 1

SOG: St. Marys 9; Elida 4

Goals: St. Marys – Vincent Holtzapple 1, Will Menker 1, Will Ross 1; Elida – Eben Jackson

Assists: N/A

Saves: St. Marys: Cayden Ballweg 3; Elida: Isaac Jones 6

Corner kicks: St. Marys 2; Elida 0

Celina 1, Shawnee 0

SOG: Celina 5; Shawnee 2

Goals: Celina – Nelson Chapman 1

Assists: Celina – Jake Knapke

Saves: Celina: Brady Steinbrunner 2; Shawnee: Drew Neidemire 4

Corner kicks: Celina 2; Shawnee 2