After the Worthington Christian High School boys soccer team broke its postgame huddle, defender Andrew Swetnam and coach Dan Roads looked at each other, smiled and shook their heads.
It was not in disbelief that the Warriors defeated Academy 1-0 in a Division III regional semifinal last Tuesday at Wellington, but relief.
The Warriors advanced to a regional final 3 p.m. Saturday against Minford, which defeated Berlin Hiland 4-1 in the other semifinal to improve to 18-2. The game is at Warsaw River View.
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 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 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."
From there, both teams had opportunities to score another goal but goalies Jordan Rhyne of Academy and Alex Scott of Worthington Christian made sure that would not occur.
"We knew we could possess the ball and we were more dangerous when we were up top," Roads said. "We kept pushing, and we didn't do a whole lot different than normal games."
Academy finished the season at 13-4-2. This is the second consecutive season Worthington Christian ended Academy season as the Warriors beat the Vikings 2-1 in a regional semifinal last season.