DOYLESTOWN — It was Bluffton’s fourth straight overtime and the Pirates did when they do best.
They win in extra sessions.
Bluffton’s Jonathan Schriner scored in the second overtime period to lift the Pirates to a 2-1 victory over Canfield South Range in the Division III boys soccer state semifinals Wednesday night at Doylestown Memorial Stadium.
It marks the first time a boys soccer team from the area has reached the championship match.
“We’re making history for our school,” Schriner said. “There’s no better feeling. This is a dream right now to play for a state title. If we’re the first team to go, that’s awesome. That’s so great.’’
Late in the second overtime, Schriner took a pass on a breakaway, dribbled down to 11-yards out and fired into the lower-right corner of the goal.
Game, match, at 2:32 of the second overtime.
“Jayden Mays got me the ball, but it was our whole team,” Schriner said. “I was thinking, go corner and I did (to the right corner).
“(When it went in), it was unbelievable. We’ve been in overtimes four times in a row now. It’s amazing.’’
South Range led 1-0 at the half. It was tied at 1 after regulation.
It marked Bluffton’s fourth straight overtime match.
This marked Bluffton’s first trip to the boys soccer state semifinals.
In fact, it was only the seventh time teams from the area have reached the state semifinals. And none of those won a state championship.
Bluffton (18-2-2) will advance to the state championship match against Columbus Wellington School (17-2-3) at 4 p.m. Sunday at the home of the Columbus Crew, Mapfre Stadium.
South Range ends its season 19-3.
“This is unbelievable,” Bluffton coach Steve Smucker said. “This isn’t our first time in overtime and I don’t know how to explain that. We caught some lightning in the postseason and we’re rolling with it.
“There were two great teams and after their first goal I wasn’t sure we were going to hang with them or not.’’
South Range outshot Bluffton 15-14.
South Range goalkeeper Matt Lucas had nine saves.
Bluffton goalkeeper Nic Essinger made 10 saves.
South Ranged buzzed around the Bluffton end most of the first half.
But the Bluffton defense and Pirates goalkeeper Essinger kept turning the Raiders away.
South Range’s Quinn Pierson got loose for a breakaway with 29 minutes left in the first half. But Pierson’s low-liner of a shot was saved by a diving Essinger.
South Range finally broke through with 2:49 left in the first half.
Canan Johnson took a free kick from 35 yards out and sailed into the heart of the box.
Pierson put a head on it and it landed softly in the back of the net to give South Range a 1-0 lead.
South Range had the shot advantage in the first half 9-2.
Bluffton’s best opportunity came with nine minutes left in the half. Bluffton pulled the South Range keeper out of the goal box, but the Pirates’ shot when 2 feet wide right of the net.
Bluffton tied the match at 1 with 8:37 to play in regulation.
Jude Spallinger took the free kick from 25-yards out and Kaden Basil headed it home just outside the right post.
That sent the match to overtime.
The Pirates had two shots in tight off a corner kick with 10 minutes to go, but both shots were saved by Lucas.
Lucas injured his shoulder on a diving save with 11:41 left in the second OT.
But he returned to action with 9:05 to go, but couldn’t stop the game-winning shot.
Bluffton outplayed South Range the last 20 minutes of the regulation and in both overtime periods.
“Oh my goodness. We were ecstatic when we tied it up,” Smucker said. “I never would have thought we would go to the state championship. But we’re happy to be the first team (from the area) to do it.’’
Making history: Boys teams from the area to reach the state semifinals are the following: Ottawa-Glandorf 1998, Shawnee 2001, Kalida 2001, 2002, Fort Jennings 2004, Celina 2016 and Bluffton this year.
No boys soccer team from the area has won a state title.
Columbus Wellington 4,
SPRINGFIELD — Botkins came up with great defensive efforts to win a regional title last week. But in a Division III state semifinal at Springfield High School on Wednesday, the team couldn’t come up with a similar shutdown effort.
Columbus Wellington scored two goals in the first half to jump start a victory and end the Trojans’ season.
“It was unfortunate tonight,” Botkins coach Kevin Lynch said. “A couple of calls went against us, and if they’d have went the other way, we may have been able to stay in the game a little bit longer. We’ve had some games where the luck went the other way, and unfortunately Lady Luck wasn’t on our side tonight.
“We had a really great season and have nothing to be ashamed of. (Wellington) is a really great team for sure.”
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