Archbold never felt in jeopardy Saturday, cruising to a 5-0 win over Genoa in a Division III boys soccer sectional final at Spengler Field.
“We’ve been off for a week and a half. It was important for us to come out and shake off the rust a little bit,” said head coach Sean Stewart. “I think we actually played pretty well early. Moved the ball really well. So I was pleased to see that not too much rust was built up. For parts of that game we really dominated – controlled tempo. There were a few parts here and there where I thought we got a little disjointed. But you’ll have that after a big layoff.”
The Blue Streaks got on the board first on a pretty play with just under 31 minutes left in the first half.
Elijah Zimmerman raced past a defender on the left side, then centered to Trey Theobald who fired one into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
Theobald made it 2-0 at the 24:24 mark with the help of a ball from Chase Kohler. A Kohler free kick was headed in the direction of the goal by Theobald, then when the ball bounced off the ground, the Comets’ goalkeeper slipped and watched the ball skid by him and into the net for a 2-0 Blue Streak advantage.
“You come into playoffs you never know what to expect. Weird things happen,” said Stewart. “We saw they had a pretty decent season, had a good result (9-1 over Evergreen) earlier in the week. A big win (in the sectional semi). So we knew they’d come in confident. We had to make sure we went out and set the tempo. To get the early goals, that helps you settle in a little bit and make you feel confident.”
Genoa’s best scoring chance came with 35 minutes left in the second half. Ethan Wilson got free on a breakaway but his shot was knocked away by Archbold keeper Noah Cheney.
Later, after a shot from Zimmerman from the right side went off the post, Kaden Rufenacht was there for the putback that gave the Streaks a 3-0 lead with 29:14 remaining. They then made it 4-0 on a well-executed right-to-left crosser from Krayton Kern to Ethan Hagans at the 15:19 mark.
Zimmerman’s goal on a breakaway with 1:37 left closed the scoring.
“I thought the last part of the first half we got disjointed, especially between defense and midfield. And really allowed some pressure to build up on us. So the second half was really about eliminating that pressure, coming forward as a team, and getting the goals obviously helps quite a bit. When it’s 2-0 at half, the next goal is always the one that really defines the game,” explained Stewart.
Archbold (12-4-1) moves on to the district tournament at Ottawa Hills where they will face Maumee Valley Country Day tomorrow at approximately 7 p.m. in a semifinal matchup. Swanton faces Ottawa Hills in the other semifinal.
“It’s a tough place to play,” admitted Stewart of the district site. “The surface makes it a little bit difficult. And different. We’ve got to figure that out and adjust to it. Obviously whoever we play, it’s gonna be someone that deserves to be there. We know we’re gonna have a game on our hands. Hopefully we get the ball moving quickly on that surface and are able to play our game.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010