Friday, October 4th, 2019

Manning up

St. Marys gets short-handed goal to beat Celina

By Gary R. Rasberry

Celina's Reeves Black (15) battles St. Marys' Austin Hertenstein (16) for the ba. . .

CELINA - With the Western Buckeye League boys soccer firmly in the hands of Shawnee, Thursday's boys edition of the Grand Lake Derby between St. Marys and Celina had considerations not only for second place in the league but also shoring up their positions going into Sunday's tournament draw.
The matchup was truly a battle, with St. Marys getting the go-ahead goal with 25 minutes remaining in the match and then holding on for a 3-2 win at the soccer stadium in Celina.
With the win the Roughriders (7-2-4, 5-1-2 WBL) leapfrogged Celina (10-5, 5-3 WBL) into second place in the league with one match to play.
The victory was made much sweeter for St. Marys, which had to play the final 34 minutes of the match with 10 players after a Roughrider was sent off for picking up his second yellow card of the match.
"We just dug deep and played with a lot of heart in those last 34 minutes," said St. Marys coach Josh Hertenstein.
"Both teams played extremely hard," said Celina coach Ryan Jenkins. "St. Marys was able to find the net one more time than us, but I am so proud of the guys. We battled right to the end."
Adam Tobin scored the first goal of the match with 25:13 remaining in the first half, but Celina leveled it up nearly six minutes later when Nathan Wilson took a pass, dashed past the St. Marys defenders and put it past Roughrider keeper Correy Nelson. Just when it appeared the teams were content to go to the half tied at one, Joey Vanderhorst lofted a direct kick into the box and past Celina keeper Dalton Leiss to put St. Marys in front at the half.
The second half had even more intensity. After St. Marys went a man down, Celina tried to find a way to level the match again before Josh Kuehne finally found an opening with 27 1/2 minutes to play, scoring on a breakaway to tie the match.
The Roughriders moved their way to the Celina end quickly and were able to get a corner kick. The boot went into the sea of humanity where players from both teams went for the ball. A deflection off a Celina player ended in the back of the net with 25:14 remaining to give St. Marys back the lead at 3-2.
"I give a lot of credit to Celina's defense. They shut us down," said Hertenstein. "We had to find other ways to score tonight."
But 25 minutes remained and St. Marys played with its back to the wall for the most part. Celina tried several times to get a shot, but St. Marys won possession of the ball and kicked it past midfield to force Celina to reengage its attack from farther away.
St. Marys had several chances to apply the coup de grĂ¢ce with a fourth goal but could not connect. The best chance came with under a minute remaining when Leiss, who was out of position, sprinted back to knock the ball out of harm's way.
"We were fortunate they didn't push it to 4-2," said Jenkins. "We battled all the way through. I told the guys not to hang their heads. When you play St. Marys, you know it's going to be a battle."
The junior varsity match also went to St. Marys by a 1-0 margin.
St. Marys returns to action on Saturday with a road trip to face unbeaten Bryan (8-0-6). Celina wraps up the regular season next Thursday at Van Wert. The varsity will play first at 5 p.m., followed by JV play.
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