For a couple of reasons, the DeSales High School boys soccer team considered its Division II state semifinal against Kettering Alter on Nov. 8 a monkey on its back.
Not only did the Stallions lose to the Knights 2-1 in double overtime on an own goal at this stage last year, but coach Domenic Romanelli was winless in two meetings against Alter.
Both of those things are in the past after a 2-0 win at Springfield that put DeSales within a win of its seventh state championship.
Zack Garrett, who accounted for the own goal last year when the ball bounced off his head and into the DeSales net, opened the scoring with 27 minutes, 4 seconds left in the first half.
Jack Francisco provided an insurance goal with 12:10 to play as the Stallions improved to 21-0-1 and advanced to play Bay Village Bay in the state final at 1 p.m. Nov. 11 at Mapfre Stadium.
“I knew I had to make a difference,” Garrett said. “When I saw the ball in the air, I knew it was either me taking out the goalie for a foul or me scoring. I knew exactly why I was going to do.”
DeSales played all but a few minutes without its leading scorer, Hector Gomez, who still is recovering from a high left ankle sprain suffered Nov. 1 during a regional semifinal win over Warsaw River View.
“These guys are so dialed in right now,” Romanelli said. “To win this game without Hector is special. We knew we could do it, but it was more mental. … This is what these kids have been shooting for.”
DeSales is 3-0 all-time against Bay in state finals, with those wins coming in 2009, 2014 and 2015.
Goalkeeper Bryan Najarian made seven saves for Alter, which finished 17-3-3. Stallions goalie Chase Agin had four saves.DIVISION I
Beavercreek 1, Dublin Coffman 0 (2OT)
The greatest season in Coffman’s history came to an end Nov. 8 with a loss to Beavercreek in a Division I state semifinal at London.
The Beavers’ Joshua Fleck scored on a header with 5:29 left in the second overtime off a corner kick by Jonah Ackerson for the game’s only goal.
Beavercreek improved to 21-0-2 and will play Medina in the state final at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 at Mapfre Stadium. The Beavers enter their third state final on a 17-game winning streak. They lost in state finals in 1990 and 2008.
Coffman, which was making its first state appearance, finished 18-2-2.
“I thought we actually dominated portions of the game,” Shamrocks coach Brian Stoddard said. “It’s disheartening to lose (the way we did).”
Coffman had one of its best scoring chances with 24 minutes remaining in regulation when Beavers goalie Liam Dipple dived to stop a shot by Luke Kiley. Kiley had another shot on goal stopped by Dipple with 3:50 left.
With 2:50 remaining in regulation, Beavercreek had a throw-in that went into the goal but was waved off because the ball was not touched.
The Beavers controlled much of the first-half action and had a shot ricochet off the crossbar with 2:30 left before halftime.
“That was as good of a game as I’ve seen (Shamrocks goalie) Jack (Walberg) play,” Stoddard said.
—Jarrod UlreyDIVISION III
Cincinnati Summit Country Day 3, Grandview 2
Doug Simpson scored a pair of goals to lead top-ranked Summit Country Day past second-ranked Grandview in a Division III state semifinal Nov. 8 at Xenia.
The Silver Knights improved to 17-3-2 and will play Toledo Ottawa Hills in the state final at 4 p.m. Nov. 11 at Mapfre Stadium. The Bobcats finished 17-1-4.
“It came down to a couple of mistakes, which is usually how games like this are decided,” Grandview coach James Gerdes said. “They made one fewer mistake than we did, and they are a good team that deserved the win.”
Ben Kelley headed in a goal just 1:36 into the game to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead, but Simpson scored his first goal with 34:15 left in the first half to tie the game.
Wes Ryan then scored from 25 yards out with 3:49 left in the half as Grandview took a 2-1 lead into halftime.
In the second half, Diego Vallota scored for the Silver Knights with 24:18 left and Simpson added his second goal with exactly 21 minutes remaining.
“It was a frenzied game,” Gerdes said. “Our game plan was to try to slow them down because they are such an athletic team. Our guys left it all out there like they always do.”