ROSSFORD – Archbold coach Sean Stewart needed a spark. Playing top-ranked Ottawa Hills in a tied game with the minutes winding down in the second half, he needed just one big play. He got the big play from a sophomore who has made his share of them in his short two-year varsity career.
Trey Theobald stepped up and banged in a rebound shot past a prone Ottawa Hills keeper with 11:24 left in regulation Saturday to send the Streaks on to the regional with a 2-1 win over the Green Bears in a Division III boys soccer district final at a rainy Glenwood Athletic Complex in Rossford.
The win avenged a 2-0 decision the Green Bears had over the Streaks in a game played in late August. To this point, it’s the only blemish the Archbold side has this season.
“That first game we played them earlier in the year, we saw things where we had the opportunity to score goals on them,” said Stewart. “We’re playing confident soccer right now. I came into this (game) knowing we could win it, and my boys felt like they could win it and they fought. Ottawa Hills played a tough game. They are the best high school team I’ve seen, and for us to come out and fight the way we did, that’s just tremendous.”
Archbold did not have a lot of chances at the net in the second half. Needing just one opportunity to break the tie, the Streaks went on the attack after keeper Noah Cheney made a diving stop. Getting a shot on goal, Theobald crashed the net when the ball stayed in play on an Elijah Zimmerman shot and he finished up for the 2-1 lead.
“We hadn’t taken a lot of shots,” Stewart quipped. “We had opportunities in the final third, we just wouldn’t play the final pass. We were a little delayed and too patient, I think. Elijah went in there and took a shot from distance, it was not a great shot but it was enough on a wet day to make the goalkeeper fumble it, and Trey crashed the goal, doing what you are taught to do.”
The Streaks turned to its defense at that point. Cheney was called on to make a handful of big stops to keep Archbold in front.
It didn’t start off on a good note for the Streaks. Dylan Schreder poked a shot into the net for a 1-0 score for the Green Bears just 49 seconds into the contest. However, Archbold matched the goal a minute later when Andrew Hogrefe headed in a corner kick to tie the game.
“All we’ve focused on is to focus and stay in the moment,” mentioned Stewart about the start of the game. “If a goal goes in for us, we play the same way. If a goal goes in for them, same thing. We did that. That early goal went in and it didn’t faze us. We went on the attack and got our goal and things went great from there.”
Both teams physically went after each other for the rest of the half, but nobody could muster a goal.
Archbold (18-1) plays Kalida Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Findlay in a regional semifinal.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org