LOGAN — The Miami Trace Panthers boys soccer team made the long trip over to Logan High School Tuesday to take on the Athens Bulldogs in a Division II District semifinal game.
Athens won the game, 5-0.
Miami Trace ends the season with a record of 12-5-1.
Athens scored with 11:22 remaining in the first half to take a 1-0 lead.
Then, very late in the half, Athens scored again, with 17.8 seconds remaining until the break, to take a 2-0 lead.
The Panthers trailed 2-0 at the half.
In the second half, Athens scored with 24:45 to play.
The Bulldogs converted a penalty kick with 14:39 to play.
Athens quickly scored what proved to be their final goal of the game with 14:16 to play.
“They played a very, very aggressive, physical game,” Miami Trace head coach Josh Thoroman said. “That really negated what we were trying to do, offensively. We couldn’t get anything going because we were getting knocked off the ball.
“At halftime, I thought we made some pretty good adjustments,” Thoroman said. “In the second half, we upped the physicality on our side and the speed of play. But, Athens increased their intensity, as well.
“They did a great job of taking advantage of our mistakes tonight,” Thoroman said.
Miami Trace took 10 shots to 16 for Athens.
Tim Kinzler had 10 saves in goal for Miami Trace.
“We didn’t play as well as we usually do,” Miami Trace assistant coach Sean Sweeney said. “The big lights, big stage, that’s new to our kids. It took almost the entire first half to get acclimated to the game.
“We have a bunch of young kids,” Sweeney said. “Everyone who dressed tonight got into the game. We got some young kids some playing time tonight. I think the big spotlight got to us a little bit tonight.”
“We’re proud that our team won the first Sectional title in the 28th year of the program,” Thoroman said. “We accomplished our goal of winning 12 games this year.
“We finished third in the SCOL behind co-champs Wilmington and Chillicothe,” Thoroman said. “Wilmington beat Chilli, 3-2 and Chilli beat Wilmington, 1-0. They both finished 11-1. We finished 7-4-1 in the SCOL.
“So, four of our five losses came to Wilmington and Chillicothe and now, our fifth loss of the season, in the District semifinals, to Athens, the No. 1 seed in the tournament,” Thoroman said. Chillicothe has won the SCOL title now four years in a row. This is the first co-championship for the Cavaliers.
Blake Pittser finished his outstanding soccer career at Miami Trace with 59 career goals, most in school history, and 25 career assists.
Athens improves to 10-7 on the season.
Athens makes the relatively short trip back up to Logan High School Saturday to take on the winner of Tuesday’s late game between Fairfield Union and Gallia Academy in the District finals Saturday at 6 p.m.
Miami Trace says thank you and farewell to seven seniors: Blake Pittser, Tim Kinzler, Harrison Anthony, Nicholas Elrich, Thomas Bondi, Todd Peterson and Ethan Conn.
Postseason honors for Miami Trace
Blake Pittser and Tim Kinzler were named First Team, All-SCOL for 2016.
Ethan Conn was named Second Team, All-SCOL for 2016.
Pittser and Kinzler were named First Team, All-District for 2016.
Conn and Brett Lewis were named Second Team, All-District and Preston Huff and Matt Fender were named Honorable Mention, All-District for 2016.
Pittser is Miami Trace’s first All-Ohio soccer player. It will be announced after this weekend whether he makes first, second or third team or honorable mention.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1