The Worthington Christian boys soccer team returns to a Division III regional final game for the fourth consecutive season. The Warriors defeated Columbus Academy 1-0 last Tuesday in a regional semifinal and advanced to play Minford 3 p.m. Saturday at River View.

The Worthington Christian boys soccer team returns to a Division III regional final game for the fourth consecutive season. The Warriors defeated Columbus Academy 1-0 last Tuesday in a regional semifinal and advanced to play Minford 3 p.m. Saturday at River View.

Minford defeated Berlin Hiland 4-1 last Tuesday to advance. In the last two seasons Worthington Christian defeated Hiland in a regional final, 3-2 last season and 2-0 in 2006.

"We have to continue doing what we're doing," said Worthington Christian coach Dan Roads, whose team improved to 16-3-1. "When we play comfortable and within ourselves, we play great. When we try to do too much or be heroic, we fall apart and go into pieces. As long as each guy fulfills his role, that's what we look for as a family and a team. You have to know your role on the team."

Minford enters the final at 18-2 overall. The Falcons avenged a season-opening loss last Saturday in a district final when they beat Wheelersburg 1-0 in overtime. On Aug. 19, Wheelersburg handed Minford the first of its two regular season losses 2-0.

Since losing its second game of the season, 4-3 to Waverly on Sept. 4, the Falcons had won 13 consecutive games by a combined score of 58-9. Cody Warren and Evan Price lead the offensive attack.

After scoring 20 goals in its first two tournament games, Worthington Christian beat Bloom-Carroll 2-0 in a district final last Saturday and earned an own-goal against Academy last Tuesday. Luke Helmuth remains the team leader in goals with eight followed by Eric Stevens, Zach Hartzell and Blake Miller with five apiece. The Warriors' defense, led by goalkeeper Alex Scott, has allowed three goals in the team's last 14 games. Two of those three goals came in a loss to defending Division I state champions Hilliard Davidson 2-0 on Sept. 18.

•REGIONAL SEMIS -- After Worthington Christian broke its postgame huddle, defender Andrew Swetnam and Roads looked at each other, smiled and shook their heads.

It was not in disbelief that the Warriors defeated Academy, but relief.

With 22 seconds remaining in the game, Academy had a throw-in deep in Worthington Christian territory. A loose ball in front of the goal box allowed Academy to attempt a shot on goal. Swetnam was standing at the far post and was able to knock the ball away as time expired.

"My job there is to guard the back post," he said. "I could see it coming. The guys weren't clearing the ball out and I felt I was in the right spot. Somehow the ball came to me and I was able to get a foot on it."

The game's only goal came with 21 minutes, 19 seconds remaining in the first half. How it was scored remained a mystery.

"I'm not actually sure what I saw myself," Academy coach Ron Leach said. "They ran a two-man on the right side, and it's a play we're familiar with. We didn't react, and we got a little disorganized as a result of us not reading the play."

Officially, it was an "own goal" as an official saw the ball bounce off Academy's Peter Paras and break the plane of the goal line.

"Sometimes you've got to put the ball in the box and see what happens," Roads said. "Sometimes you get lucky and we got lucky with the guys in the box."

Academy finished the season at 13-4-2. This is the second consecutive season Worthington Christian ended Academy's season as the Warriors beat the Vikings 2-1 in a regional semifinal last season.