PORT CLINTON – Like a carbon copy of the 2015 season, Archbold boys soccer punched its ticket to state with a 3-0 win over Independence in a Division III regional final in Port Clinton Saturday evening.
Also at Port Clinton three years ago, the Bluestreaks defeated Columbia Station Columbia 3-1. Seeing time as a freshman on that team, senior Josh Kidder now gets to bookend his career with trips to state.
“This is amazing,” Kidder explained. “It’s like deja vu. Same field. Same group of seniors (still together from freshmen year).”
“The boys deserve it,” said Archbold mentor Sean Stewart of his team advancing to state. “They’ve put in a tremendous effort throughout the season. Just to get better throughout the season and really hitting our best soccer at this time of year. So to do that, and to have the belief and confidence to come out here and accomplish that goal is just awesome.”
The Streaks cashed in just under 17 minutes in on a nice two-man game from Kidder and Trey Theobald. On a direct free kick from Kidder, he elected to pass to Theobald who got it right back to Kidder running towards the net, then he found Theobald again who scored for a 1-0 lead.
Archbold continued to pressure the net throughout the half.
On a Javier Peche corner kick with 1:41 remaining, Elijah Zimmerman and Kidder each had quality looks but both shots were turned away by Independence keeper Ethan Manelski.
However, Zimmerman would not be denied in the early minutes of half number two. He headed one in to give the Streaks a two-goal advantage with 37:15 to go. They cruised from that point on.
“The first 10-15 minutes they (Independence) passed around us. I think we had to get used to the pitch a little bit,” explained Stewart. “But once we did, and once we got out and were able to run, we wear teams down when we run and get open spaces. I think by the middle of that second half, maybe even a little earlier, we had them on their heels and we were able to just go wave after wave of offense.”
Andrew Hogrefe then converted a putback after a hard shot from Theobald to complete the scoring with 11:57 remaining.
It was the first loss of the season for Independence.
The Bluestreak boys are the fourth Archbold team to make it to state this season, joining the boys golf team, girls cross country and girls soccer.
“It’s just fantastic for soccer in Archbold,” said Stewart. “For the school and the community. We’ve got four teams in fall sports at Archbold that either went or are going to state. It just says a lot about our community, and our school, and our kids.”
It will now be a doubleheader of state semifinal action Tuesday at Cedar Point Stadium on the campus of Sandusky High School. First, the Archbold girls will battle Kirtland at 6 p.m. The Archbold boys (18-1-0) will follow – also against Kirtland (15-1-3) – at approximately 8 p.m.
Streaks put down Cats in regional semi
The first goal Archbold scored Wednesday might have been with a little luck. The other three, those were all skill.
Using that first goal seven minutes into the contest, the Streaks ran past Kalida 4-0 in a Division III boys soccer regional semifinal at Graham Stadium in Findlay.
Kalida helped with the first goal. The help came in the form of a defender, who was trying to run with Archbold’s Trey Theobald towards the net. When the ball cut behind the two players, the heel of the Kalida defender struck the ball and it careened into the net for an Archbold goal.
“Clay (Gerig) put a great ball across,” Archbold coach Sean Stewart said of the first goal of the game. “Own goals happen, typically for a reason. We’ll take them when we can get them.”
The Streak offense was on display for the rest of the half. With just under 27 minutes to go in the first half, Clay Gerig fed Elijah Zimmerman for a goal and a 2-0 lead. Gerig added a second assist in the half when he sent a ball outside the box to a waiting Josh Kidder, who blasted in his 91st career goal.
“For us, it really was about effort,” mentioned Stewart. “We didn’t pass the ball real crisp. We were lacking and had a letdown there, but I couldn’t fault the effort.
“It’s really about getting the ball to the right areas of the pitch,” added the Archbold coach. “That last goal was a great example of it. We won the ball off their midfielder and three passes and a goal.”
Archbold tacked on a goal in the second half when Andrew Hogrefe found Gerig.
Kalida took three shots on goal in each half. The three in the second half were good shots, but each time Noah Cheney was able to step up and make a save.
“Defense was solid,” stated Stewart. “Kalida has some big boys. They are tough and strong. It was an effort to push them out and limit the shots.”
Randy Roberts contributed to this article