The Dublin Coffman High School boys soccer team will play for its first regional title when it opposes Olentangy Liberty on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Dublin Scioto.
The Shamrocks advanced to a Division I regional final following a 4-0 win over Reynoldsburg in a semifinal on Nov. 1 at Dublin Jerome.
Coffman improved to 12-7-1, and Reynoldsburg finished 9-8-3.
Liberty defeated Worthington Kilbourne 2-1 in a regional semifinal at Coffman.
“We definitely thought it was possible,” Coffman senior Ray Gans said of his team reaching a regional final. “This was for sure one of our goals heading into the season. We’ve been working hard all postseason, and we’ve been fortunate enough to get some big wins. It’s a good feeling.”
The Shamrocks took control early.
Nick Gualtieri head-directed a throw-in from Zak Leedom past goalkeeper Kellan Goble with 36 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first half.
Coffman scored off another restart 5:35 later when Derek Molzahn beat Goble off a free kick by Gans.
The Shamrocks continued to dominate play, but Goble kept his team in contention for most of the first half as he turned away chances by Gans and Leedom.
Coffman extended its lead to 3-0 at the half on Marcus Manarolla’s goal off another throw-in by Leedom.
The Shamrocks closed the scoring 13 minutes into the second half on Ben Kinney’s goal, assisted by Ryan Prescott.
Goble, a senior, made six saves.
“It was a heck of a season we had,” Reynoldsburg coach Justin Lewis said. “It was a great run in the tournament. I just think tonight we just ran out of steam. They got an early goal on us, which has happened the last two rounds. We got scored on early, but we seemed to bounce back. Tonight, Coffman got a quick second goal on us, and that was it.”
Goalkeeper Carter Richardson played the first 57 minutes for Coffman before being replaced by junior Trent Rantala.
Coffman and Liberty met during a preseason scrimmage and Coffman coach Steve Watts expects a close game.
“Liberty is real technically sound,” Watts said. “They tackle hard, and they play hard. They were one of the best teams of switching the ball from one side of the field to the other offensively, which we had a hard time dealing with in the scrimmage.”