The Fayette Christian School Crusaders boys soccer finished in third place for the third year in a row in Division 2 seven-man soccer division after winning two games over the weekend of Oct. 25 and 26.
The tournament was held at Lima Christian Academy in the Buckeye Christian School Organization Fall Sports Championships.
The Crusaders entered the tournament with a 3-2 record that saw two of their regular season games cancelled due to their opponents deciding not to field a team. Another game was cancelled after it was delayed twice due to lightening. The team was only able to get in one home game the entire season.
In the BCSO Tournament, the Crusaders, who were a No. 4 seed, defeated Dayton Christian Temple in the opening quarterfinal game with a 6-2 decision in the opening game at 8:30 a.m.
Nicholas Epifano scored four goals in the contest including the first goal of the game just six minutes into the contest.
The Tigers responded and tied it up at 1-1 which was the score at the half.
Gage McDaniel picked up his second assist of the game as he made a perfect pass to Epifano on the left wing which Epifano hit to make it 2-1 Crusaders. Epifano was set up for his third goal after an assist by Lane Hufford at the 27:12 mark to make it 3-1 Crusaders.
Epifano returned the favor as he picked up an assist setting up McDaniel on a goal to make it 4-1.
Hufford added a goal with about 15 minutes left in the game to make it 5-1. Epifano later converted a penalty kick for his fourth goal of the game which help lead to the win.
FCS had 23 shots on goal while Justin Wines, the Crusaders goalie, had 14 saves in the contest.
Then early Friday afternoon, after a break, the Crusaders played the No. 1 seeded Warriors of Wayside Baptist in the first semifinal game.
The Crusaders were familiar with the team after splitting matches with them during the regular season.
The Bucyrus-based team showed why they were the top seed as they opened up a 7-1 lead and went on to win 9-1 over the Crusaders.
Nicholas Epifano had the Crusaders’ only goal in the contest.
The loss would put the Crusaders in the third place game for the third year in a row.
They would face yet another team on their brief regular season schedule — Findlay Heritage.
The Crusaders were down 4-1 at halftime as Epifano, despite being double-teamed and playing with a bad ankle scored a goal with an assist by Gage McDaniel.
After halftime and with steady rain falling, Epifano on offense and his Crusaders teammates on defense put together an unbelievable 33 minutes of soccer as Epifano would score four goals within a span of 13 minutes (from the 30-minute mark to about the 17-minute mark) to put the Crusaders up, 5-4. With under three minutes left, the Warriors tied the game at 5-5, but Epifano scored his sixth goal (for a double hat trick) with 90 seconds to put the Crusaders up 6-5. Findlay’s Simon Fickell would tie the contest with under 20 seconds left at 6-6 with his fourth goal of the game.
With a 12-minute overtime starting (the first team to score wins) a beautiful defensive shutdown by the Crusaders set up Epifano in front of the Heritage goal and he struck a shot from 15 yards out with 9:36 left in overtime to win the contest.
Not sure if Epifano’s seven goals in a game sets any type of record but he finished with 12 goals in the tournament. That gave him 20 goals for the season.
Gage McDaniel added a goal and three assists in the three tournament games. He finished with four goals for the season.
Lane Hufford had a tournament goal and an assist to finish with three goals and two assists for the season.
Christopher Toill had two goals for the season.
Epifano and McDaniel were named to the All-Tournament team. Wayside Baptist, who finished the season at 10-1-1 was the tournament champion after a 6-0 win over defending champion Brooklyn (Cleveland) Heritage. Nicholas Garcia was the well-deserving Tournament MVP.
Licking County Christian Academy defeated Dayton Temple for fifth place. Wayside was also awarded the Sportsmanship Award.
There was also a Junior High Soccer Division. Three teams played a round robin tournament with Findlay Heritage winning. Fremont Temple was runner-up and Dayton Temple finished third. Findlay Heritage received the Sportsmanship Award.
Volleyball tournament action
In volleyball, Fayette Christian School varsity (high school) and reserves (junior high) girls were both the No. 1 seeds in their respective Division 2 age groups. The senior high won their first round contest on Friday morning against Findlay Heritage but lost twice in the finals in the double elimination tournament and finished second on Saturday.
The junior high team lost twice and was eliminated in the consolation round.
In junior high volleyball, Dayton Temple was the champion, followed by Columbus High Street Baptist. Fayette Christian School came in third place.
Licking County Christian Academy received the Sportsmanship Award.
In senior high volleyball, Division 2, Lima Christian was first after their two wins over the Lady Crusaders who were the runner-up team.
Letisha Knepp and Grace Sheeter of Fayette Christian were voted to the All-Tournament team.