Girls soccer: Celina defeats Bath to reach Division II district final

ELIDA — Bath entered Wednesday night’s Division II district semifinal feeling good about itself after a convincing win against Van Wert and a one-goal victory to upset top seed Liberty Benton in the sectional tournament.

Celina punched its ticket into the district tournament by defeating Defiance 3-0 eight days earlier. The Bulldogs struggled to find similar success throughout 40 minutes of regulation Wednesday night before freshman Allana Carroll found an opening and pinned the ball into the left corner of the net in overtime to give Celina the 1-0 victory.

“Sometimes you just need one.” Celina head coach Eric Gerker said. “We hung around and our defense played well. They didn’t get many good open looks on our goalkeeper Isabel Maxwell, our communication on defense really helped in this victory.”

As the second half wound down Celina began to control the possession more offensively and flip the flow of the game. Carmen Kunkleman fended off the Bulldogs to keep the contest scoreless and force overtime.

“Towards the end of the second half I pulled a couple girls out and explained some things on where we wanted them to be,” Gerker said. “We wanted to work the ball more towards the outside, and we started to do that towards the end of regulation.”

Bath defeated Celina 3-1 in Western Buckeye League play exactly one month ago and the Bulldogs studied the film to make the correct adjustments. “We watched the film and said we have to keep them out of the 18, if they get there, we have to close down their handles and we did a good job closing,” Gerker said.

It didn’t take Celina long into the extra period to clinch its first district final appearance since 2019. Carroll connected on the shot heard around Elida during the fifth minute, and pandemonium ensued on the Celina sideline.

“I saw a wide-open shot, and I was a little nervous because I did put a lot on the shot, but something in my stomach told me to take the shot and something good will come of it.” Carroll said. “I was very proud of the team, my body just kind of went limp, and it was a good feeling to celebrate.”

The Wildkittens finished their 2023 campaign at 11-8. The Bulldogs improved to 12-6-1 and will return to the Elida middle school soccer complex at 2 p.m. Saturday in hope of their first district crown in four years.

Match summary


C – Allana Carroll (10:21/OT, unassisted)


Celina – Isabel Maxwell (5)

Bath – Carmen Kunkleman (4)


Celina – 1

Bath – 5

Nate Stidham wrote this story for Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.