ELIDA – Wapakoneta has been here before.
That counted for plenty Tuesday night.
Wapakoneta responded to Celina’s late game-tying goal with the game-winning goal to post a 2-1 victory against Celina in the Division II girls soccer district semifinals at the Elida Sports Complex.
Celina’s Emily Braun tied the game at 1 with 11:39 to go.
Wapak’s Emily Ruppert came right back and scored the game-winning goal with 7:55 left to play to make it 2-1.
“We had the momentum going the whole game,” Ruppert said. “It (the goal) was a little luck. The keeper jumped up and I put it up in the middle and it went in.’’
Wapak (10-5-2) advances to the district finals against Bath at 2 p.m. Saturday at Elida.
Celina ends its year 11-5-3.
“I thought they were a very poised team,” Celina coach Eric Gerker said. “Their experience and their poise against our youth was the deciding factor.’’
Braun’s game-tying goal landed in the upper half of the net from 10-yards out on a pass from Zoey Burns.
Immediately after that, the Redskins began surging through the midfield and were buzzing around the 18-yard box.
Wapak kept the offensive pressure on and Celina couldn’t get the clear it needed.
That’s when Emily Ruppert found a loose ball 14-yards out on the left side, turned and fired it just under the crossbar to make it 2-1 with 7:55 to go.
“We had to keep pressuring,” Ruppert said.
Added Wapak coach Mike Foor, “We knew we had to step it up (after Celina scored) and it was a great goal by Emily.’’
Wapak and Celina battled to a 4-4 tie during the regular season.
Wapak had the shot advantage 13-10.
Wapakoneta goalkeeper Corrine Raney had eight saves.
Celina goalkeeper Kennedy Henry made eight saves.
Wapak had four corner kicks.
Celina’s Reilly Cox had a goal and an assist off her own corner kicks in the sectional finals win over Shawnee.
But, on Wednesday, Celina had no corner kicks.
“In watching the Celina-Shawnee game, we knew we couldn’t give Reilly (Cox) a corner kick,” Foor said. “That was one of our goals, defensively, was no corner kicks.’’
Gerker said the Bulldogs had a different philosophy then when his team defeated Shawnee.
“We were trying to hold possession tonight,” Gerker said. “We wanted to disrupt some of the things they do in the middle of the field.’’
The Wapak defense was led by center defenders Torie Carter and Emma Kentner, along with wing defenders Taylor Jenkins and Hayden Lawrence.
“Defensively, it was a great night,’’ Foor said.
Emily’s senior twin sister, Abbigail Ruppert, scored first at the end of the first half.
Abbigail Ruppert got loose on a breakaway and chipped the ball ahead to herself and into the 18-yard box. Off her high bounce, she headed it into the net.
That gave the Redskins a 1-0 lead with 33 seconds left before halftime.
While Wapak went 5-3-1 in the Western Buckeye League this year, it returned 18 letter winners from a team that reached the regional semifinals last year.
“The season was the season,” Emily Ruppert said. “We want to focus on this tournament run and make it as far as we can.’’
Added Foor, “We told them, ‘The regular season is over. Forget about it.’ … We want to be the team we can be and they showed up tonight.’’
Bath 4, Kenton 2
Chandler Clark had two goals, Tori Dackin had a goal and two assists and Madelyn Renner had a tally for Bath. Due to the start time, match information was limited due to deadline.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.