BATH TOWNSHIP — Bath got the big break it was looking for and jumped all over it.
The Wildcats were trailing by a goal, but kept charging and playing the ball into the Elida box in the second half.
Then came an Elida miscommunication in the back, which helped Bath tie the game and post a 2-2 boys soccer tie with Elida on Thursday night.
“We fought well,” Bath forward Zach Garza said. “It feels good, but we still have things we have to work on.’’
The match was tied at 1 at the half.
Elida took a 2-1 lead in the first minute of the second half with a goal by Draek Littler.
With 20:54 to go, Bath played a ball into the top of the 18-yard box.
There was confusion between the Elida goalkeeper and his defender as to who would play the ball.
The ball squirted onto a Bath foot and was quickly played to Zach Garza.
Garza rammed home the shot from 18-yards out into the near-empty net to tie the game at 2.
“The goalie came out to clear it and it hit his player and (Bath’s) Armando Garcia just tapped it to me,” Garza said.
Elida coach Tom Thomas said, “It was a miscommunication and we let them back in the match.”
Bath had two great chances in the final 16 minutes, but both times Elida had players make kick saves at the goal line.
Bath is 2-4-1 and 0-1-1 in the Western Buckeye League.
“We changed formations two days ago (a 4-1-3-2) and the way they fought with a new formation that we had barely had worked on, I’m very pleased with our effort tonight,” Bath coach David Briggs said. “It’s been a long time since we competed against Elida. I’m very proud to see that.’’
Elida is 3-1-1 and 1-0-1 in the WBL.
Elida has only two seniors on the roster and a number of new players from last year.
“We need to grow up a bit and mature and we’ll get there,” Elida coach Tom Thomas said. “We’re a work in progress right now with our young guys. Bath played well, as well.’’
Elida barely outshot Bath 8-7.
Bath goalkeeper Brenton Brock came up with four saves.
Elida goalkeeper Scott Holmgren had three saves.
For Elida, defender Mason Weldy make a huge kick save at the goal line with 16 minutes to go.
Elida freshman Ethan Thomas had two assists.
Thomas’ first assist came on a pass into the left side of the box to Aidan Bartels to drilled it into the upper-right corner of the net.
That gave Elida a 1-0 lead with 21:08 left in the first half.
Bath tied the match at 1 with 1:53 left before the first half ended.
Ricky Deppe made a pass to Cam Wallace at the left post and he sent it into the net to make it 1-1.
At the 39:19 mark in the second half, Thomas gobbled up a loose ball at midfield and sent a ball onto the left flank to Littler.
Littler dribbled in and fired a low liner into the net to give Elida a 2-1 lead.
“After that, we were kind of satisfied with that and didn’t push forward much,” Thomas said. “Again, it’s the youth, and we have to find that rhythm and be consistent.
Littler, a senior and four-year player, was followed all night by Bath freshman Kyran Johnson.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.