The Dublin Coffman High School boys soccer team was eager to redeem itself in the Division I district tournament after struggling through a mildly disappointing regular season.
The Dublin Coffman High School boys soccer team was eager to redeem itself in the Division I district tournament after struggling through a mildly disappointing
The seventh-seeded Shamrocks accomplished that mission by upsetting third-seeded Olentangy Liberty 1-0 in the final last Saturday at Grove City Christian. Coffman improved to 12-4-3 and advanced to a regional semifinal last Tuesday against Jerome. The winner will advance to a regional final Saturday at Scioto against Upper Arlington or Worthington Kilbourne.
"Winning the (OCC-Central Division) was our first big goal, but we're in a tough league and we didn't get it done," coach Marc D'Auteuil said. "We had some tough losses during the regular season, but this was our next big goal and it feels great to win a championship."
The Shamrocks scored off a corner kick 12 minutes, 8 seconds into the game. Michael Vieth served the ball into the box and Tomas Guerrero headed it forward to Carl Ruf, who scored.
"Somebody got a head on it and the ball came right to me," Ruf said. "I was able to turn and hit it with my right foot before their goalkeeper (Joe Kon) could react."
The Patriots had five shots in the first half, but Faraz Sihabdeen was there to make the save each time.
Liberty's only scoring opportunity of the second half occurred with less than 18 minutes remaining. Alex Ottavio drilled a shot off the crossbar from 20 yards out, and Adam Mechling was stopped by Sihabdeen on a rebound attempt.
The Shamrocks have won two consecutive district titles. Coffman beat Jerome 1-0 in a final a year ago before losing to eventual state Hilliard Davidson 2-1 in a regional semifinal.
This year, Coffman opened district play with a 1-0 win over Watkins Memorial on Oct. 18 and beat fifth-seeded Pickerington North 1-0 in overtime in a district semifinal Oct. 22. Against North, Drew Pang scored off a pass from Vieth with 4:13 remaining in the extra period.
"This district championship feels a lot different," center-midfielder Mitch Johnson said. "Last year, we were kind of expected to do it. This year, not many people outside of our team thought we could do it. We had to buckle down and play great defense to win all three of our district games."
UA beat Hilliard Davidson 2-0 last Saturday to improve to 11-6-2 as Nathan David and Tyler Franklin scored and Drew Sandbo had three saves. Kilbourne defeated Marysville 3-1 last Saturday to improve to 17-2 as Ben Gentry scored twice and Jordan Hendricks scored once. Coffman lost to Kilbourne 2-1 on Sept. 30 and to UA 2-1 on Oct. 7.
Leading the Shamrocks in scoring through 19 games were Nathan Baltzer (8 goals), Ryan Snashall (8), Guerrero (5), Pang (4) and Shawn Patterson (3).
"We've got to keep playing this well, defensively," D'Auteuil said. "Adam Brown, R.J. Naylor and Faraz are continuing to lead us in the back, and Ryan Snashall and Carl Ruf have played well in the back when we've needed them there in the tournament."