MANSFIELD — Bay was wobbling.
It gave up an own goal and the match was suddenly tied early in the second half.
Then, just like that, Bay bounced back to its old self.
Bay scored three goals in the final 21 minutes to post a 4-1 victory over Elida in the Division II boys soccer regional finals Saturday at Mansfield Madison.
Bay (14-4-1) advances to the state semifinals against Aurora (14-3-4) on Wednesday at a time and site to be announced.
Bay has made 15 trips to the state soccer tournament and won two state titles in 1993 and 1991.
“Bay are a historic powerhouse and every year they reload,” Elida coach Tom Thomas said. “And they have a lot of really good soccer players. I would like to say we played our best soccer tonight, but Bay was just the better team today. They don’t have a weak spot out there. And they took advantage of a couple of mistakes we made and made us pay.’’
Elida ends its year 19-2.
Bay defeated Elida in the 2015 regional finals 1-0.
Bay led 1-0 at the half, but Elida tied it on an own goal with 37 minutes to play.
Suddenly, the skills of Bay took a sudden hit.
Elida began charging into the offensive end and firing shots.
For 20 minutes, Bay was in trouble after the own goal.
“We actually dictating play the first 20 minutes of the second half and we were very, very dangerous,” Thomas said. “Then, they got an unlucky counter on us and he put it away like he’s supposed to.’’
Then, with 21:41 to go, Bay’s Colin MacMillan took the ball at near midfield on the counter attack. He took it down the left side of the 18, then into the box and fired a shot from 15-yards out.
The ball landed in the lower-right corner of the net.
That gave Bay a 2-1 lead.
“That’s what my coach has been pushing me to do all season,” MacMillan said. “I got the ball on my left, cut it in and went down the left side. That was huge because after the own goal, it was a huge kill. It was a killer in the second half to know you gave up an own goal. They were really hyped up after that and it really nice to get that second goal.’’
Bay then took full advantage of its speed and quickness.
It struck again with 19:42 to go.
Noah Beck took a pass from Kyle Cusimano and drilled it into the net from 12-yards out.
That pushed the Bay lead to 3-1.
Bay’s Kevin Joyce scored on a shot near the goalkeeper to make it 4-1 with 6:43 to go.
Bay outshot Elida 13-7.
Bay goalkeeper Brent Hull had five saves.
Elida goalkeeper Caleb Jones had six saves.
Bay buzzed around the 18-yard box in the first 20 minutes, but the Elida defense turned the Rockets away.
Elida sweeper Riley Bartels was there directing traffic in the back and rejecting the Bay rushes.
Bay broke the scoreless game at the 5:49 mark of the first half.
Eli Koury had a throw-in on the far side. It landed on the foot of Bay’s Evan Taylor on the edge of the 18.
Taylor turned and fired a low-line drive into the left corner of the net to give Bay a 1-0 lead.
Bay outshot Elida 7-0 in the first half.
Elida tied the match at 1 on an own goal.
Bartels took a free kick from 40-yards out. It was lined to the frame, when it was headed into the net by Bay defender Jack Graham.
The own goal came with 37:26 left in the match.
It was Elida’s third trip to the regional finals.
“We’re very proud to be here,” Thomas said. “I’m so proud of what our senior class did and what our underclassemen did. You can’t take away 19 wins. It’s the most wins in Elida history and we’ve had a lot of good teams come through Elida. We just came up a little bit short today.’’
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.
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