By DON DELCO
ThisWeek Staff Writer

To earn its third consecutive Division III district title, the fourth-seeded Columbus Academy boys soccer team needed to beat second-seeded and one-loss Grandview.

Academy's Tim Eldridge scored one goal and assisted on two more, all in the second half of the Vikings 3-0 win on Saturday.
Academy improved to 10-5-4 and plays in a regional semifinal Tuesday at Wellington against Worthington Christian. Grandview finished 17-2.

"Our kids played really well," Academy coach Ron Leach said. "They might have had their best game of the season today. Grandview is a great team."

Academy broke the scoreless tie with 37 minutes, 51 seconds remaining in the second half when Tim Eldridge crossed to John Edgar on a breakaway. Five minutes later, Eldridge drew a penalty inside Grandview's goal box. Andrew Martin converted on the penalty kick for a two-goal lead.

"I didn't see what happened, I just ended up on my head," Eldridge said. "I was seeing stars."

Eldridge finished Academy's scoring on a goal with eight minutes remaining in the game.

"Tim has been a great striker for us. He's quick and he has a lot of great moves," Leach said. "We felt if we played him up and we get the ball on his foot, good things will happen. He was kind of an offensive machine today for us."

Eldrige has four goals in the last two games. In a 5-0 win over Madison Christian in a district semifinal Oct. 28, Eldrige scored three goals.

"I don't play soccer year round, so I don't have the skills like some of the other guys," Eldridge said. "But I try to use my speed to get around people."

Academy and Grandview played Sept. 8 with Grandview winning 2-1 behind two goals from Sam Stull. On Saturday, Stull was held in check.

"We worked on staying compact," Leach said. "We tucked in when we got the second goal and we played solid defensively.

"Last time we single-marked him, this time we passed him between two players, depending on where Stull was playing. Maybe that was more effective for us."

It was Grandview's fifth district final appearance in the nine years under coach Brian Neidenthal. The Bobcats have lost all five games.