The Big Walnut High School boys soccer team edged New Albany for the second time this season Saturday as it earned its third Division II district championship in four seasons.
The Golden Eagles defeated New Albany 1-0 in a shootout in a district final at Upper Arlington to improve to 11-4-5 and advance to a regional semifinal against Kettering Alter or Bellefontaine at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Fairborn.
Big Walnut, which won district titles in 2005 and 2006, outscored New Albany 4-2 in the shootout. The game was scoreless after regulation and two 15-minute overtime periods.
"To come down to (penalty kicks) shows that both teams wanted it as much as the other," said Golden Eagles coach Charlie Brodhead, whose team defeated New Albany 2-1 in an OCC-Capital Division game Sept. 23. "It's a shame it has to come down to that, but we could've played for another hour and nobody would've scored.
"I'm happy with the way we played defensively. Offensively, we could've taken more chances. We weren't shooting as much as I would've liked us to."
New Albany, which finished 7-8-4, had the better scoring chances in regulation and the overtime periods. Chris Wieland missed a penalty kick with 25 minutes, 27 seconds left in the first half, sending his shot wide left.
Golden Eagles goalie A.J. Fleak thwarted several other scoring chances for New Albany. He made diving saves on a shot by Trent Guy in the second half and a shot by Nathan Guy in the second overtime and deflected a shot by Jay Griffith in the final five minutes of the second half, causing the ball to roll about five yards wide of the open net.
Fleak also made a diving save on Wieland in the shootout before scoring the clinching goal.
"He's unbelievable," Brodhead said of Fleak. "We know that if we get to (a shootout) situation that he will make one good save."
Fleak missed a penalty kick in the second half, sending his shot over the net, before redeeming himself in the shootout.
"I second-guessed myself with that shot (in the second half), which I shouldn't have done," Fleak said.
This marks the second season in a row in which Big Walnut has beaten New Albany in the tournament. The Golden Eagles defeated the Eagles 1-0 in a shootout in the second round last year.
"Somebody's got to win; they've got to decide the game somehow," New Albany coach Chad Schuler said. "It's just the way the game goes. Hats off to them, they won the game."
In addition to Fleak, scoring in the shootout for Big Walnut were Ben Mason, Marc Cannon and Nate Hrusovsky. Trent Guy and Nick Buck scored in the shootout for New Albany.