The Miami Trace Panthers added another chapter to their soccer program’s history when they hosted the Washington Blue Lions for a Division II Sectional championship game on a not-quite-as-cold-as-it-has-been Thursday evening.
The Panthers won the game, 5-0 to capture their third consecutive Sectional title.
The shutout was a school-record tying seventh of the season for Miami Trace.
The Panthers (now 11-4-2 overall) will travel to Logan High School on Wednesday to take on the Alexander Spartans (from Albany in Athens County). That will be the first of two District semifinals that evening. Miami Trace will play at 5 p.m. and then, not before 7 p.m., Jackson will take on Circleville.
Alexander defeated Unioto, 1-0 Thursday.
Jackson defeated Warren 3-0 Thursday, converting three penalty kicks while saving three PK attempts by Warren.
Circleville defeated the Hillsboro Indians Thursday, 2-1 to advance to take on the Ironmen.
Miami Trace peppered away at the Washington goal with 45 shots to four for the Blue Lions.
Justin Shoemaker had three saves for the Panthers and Ryan Schwartz had 15 saves in goal for Washington.
The Panthers held a 3-0 lead at halftime.
Miami Trace got the scoring underway when August Langley converted a penalty kick for what turned out to be the winning goal. That score came with 28:38 remaining in the first half.
Kody Burns scored next for the Panthers, the assist going to Jaden Haldeman at the 19:56 mark of the first half.
Kyler Conn scored an unassisted goal for Miami Trace at the 5:02 mark, the final goal of the opening half of play.
Burns scored again for Miami Trace in the second half. The assist went to Caleb Perry just over one minute into the half.
“That was one of the best goals of the year,” Miami Trace head coach Josh Thoroman said. “Caleb played a free kick and chipped the defense. Kody Burns is quite tall, so he headed it in.”
What turned out to be the final goal of the match came when Perry played a ball through and caught Haldeman on the run at the 24:56 mark.
“We had 20 boys tonight and they all played significant minutes,” Thoroman said.
Miami Trace has allowed just 17 goals in 17 matches. The fewest number of goals allowed by a Panther team in a season is 25 in 2016. The Panthers have scored 65 goals thus far this season.
“For our team overall, it was a good performance,” Washington head coach Aaron Teter said. “We hung with them, score-wise, until it was 4-0 early in the second half. The five goals is the least they put on us this year.
“As far as our improving on our game, I think we did a good job through the season, especially against Trace,” Teter said. “Their mid-field is just too strong all the way through, with Perry and (Drew) Batson and Langley. They controlled the game. We’d get a goal kick and they’d be back on offense again. They just leaned on us and eventually they scored five goals.
“We didn’t want to give up five goals and we didn’t want this to be our last game of the season,” Teter said. “But, I’m proud of all of our guys.”
The Blue Lions say thank you and good-bye to seven seniors.
“Schreck (Allan Schreckengaust) is a leader back there,” Teter said. “He’s a captain, a three-year starter and our sweeper. He’ll be greatly missed.
“Bryce Coy is a senior on defense and so is Jaxson Singleton,” Teter said. “Trent Langley plays a lot of defense back there.
“On offense, it would have been nice to get a goal in there,” Teter said. “We had a couple of opportunities toward the end of the game; nothing doing, though.
“Blaise Tayese is the leader of our team,” Teter said. “He’s been a prolific scorer with 58 career goals. Ethan Smith is another striker and good goal scorer. Nick Bishop’s been the captain of our team, the one who wants to take charge and be a leader for the team. They will all be missed.”
Washington finishes the 2018 season with a record of 3-13-2, 0-10 in the Frontier Athletic Conference.
Notes: There are 191 Division II boys soccer teams in Ohio. Heading into District play, there are 64 remaining, including the Panthers.
In other Division II boys soccer games in the Southeast District Thursday, Logan Elm defeated the McClain Tigers, 3-2.
Athens defeated Waverly, 7-0 and will play Logan Elm Tuesday at Logan H.S.
Marietta shut out Gallia Academy, 4-0 and Fairfield Union got by Zane Trace, 3-1. Marietta takes on Fairfield Union Tuesday at Logan.