TOLEDO — Sometimes sports can be so like a double-edged sword.
On one side is the thrill and elation of victory. On the other is the absolute frustration and wonder of why, when you do everything pretty much right all night, and still get beat.
That ugly feeling was the final experience for Evergreen as in spite of outshooting and controlling the field against 17-0 Genoa, the Vikings just couldn’t find the net in a 2-0 loss that ended their season after a sectional title, at 14-4 in the district semifinal Wednesday at Ottawa Hills.
“Sometimes that’s the way the game goes,” Viking Coach Dave Skoczyn said after. “Sometimes you give up goals early, which we did and sometimes you have chances to score, again which we did, a few in the first 10 minutes that you don’t score on and you don’t. That’s how the ebb and flow goes. We had chances throughout the game.
“We’ll do what we do. We’ll do it the right way and if the right way is 14 and 4 every year that will be a pretty dang good season.”
Genoa showed early why they were one of the top scoring teams in the state in the first 17 minutes, scoring a pair of goals, both set up by Griffin Meyer.
After eluding a tackle attempt, Meyer found Aiden Hemmert on the opposite side of the goal for a 1-0 lead at the 27:58 point of the first half.
Five minutes later it was Meyer again, same situation coming down the left side, finding Hunter Streight on the same backcut to make it 2-0.
From that point, Evergreen and goalie Jon Burnep slammed the door on the high-scoring Comets.
And the Vikes had their chances to get back into the game.
Tyson Woodring took a long goal kick from Burnep and seemed to have beaten the Comets’ goalkeep, but a headlong save denied the Vikings a score.
With 10 minutes left in the first half, Evan Lumbrezer’s chest bump off a corner rolled just wide of the left post and four minutes later Konnor Sanford had the goalie beaten over the top but grazed the right post.
The Vikings played the last 60 minutes without one of their top players in the middle, Elijah Hernandez, after the sophomore star knocked heads with Lumbrezer while trying to upfield a high ball.
The Vikings’ back line allowed just two scoring chances for Genoa in the second half and Burnep handled both, stuffing Hemmert both times in front of the net — the first with 19 minutes left in the contest and the last with six minutes to go.
In between it was all Vikings, except for one thing…the ball couldn’t find the back of the goal.
Alex Peete’s header out of a scrum in front of the goal was screened but his shot was just off of the right top of the net.
Then with 11 minutes left, Peete beat the goalie over the top, except his shot went just over the crossbar.
Riley Dunbar had the corner turned a couple minutes later on the right side, but as he entered the goal box, a Comet defender grabbed his arm pulling him backwards, and the sophomore’s shot rolled just left of the post without an official’s whistle.
Evergreen had one last try, the last of eight high-quality chances, when Peete rifled a bullet that was knocked away with two minutes left.
It was the last straw on a night when the consensus in the Ottawa Hills press box said the undefeated team wasn’t the better team, or the most motivated team.
However, the team they spoke of was going home for the last time.
“We told the boys, we’ve got to get better tomorrow. We’ve got to get better the next day,” said Skoczyn. “You hate this for the seniors because they played their backsides off. Losing Elijah certainly didn’t help. It’s like we talked about just now, there are only six teams happy at the end of their season and that’s the three boys teams and the three girls teams who win state. At some point in time something will happen.
“We have to be absolutely thrilled from the point we started and where we have come in two years, and in three years as being a varsity sport. And then the potential for this group and how we keep going forward.”
After starting 3-2, the Vikings won 11 of their last 13.
Panthers shutout by top-seeded Green Bears
Delta was on the defensive almost from the beginning against the second-ranked team in the state, Ottawa Hills.
Brodey Roth made an athletic save in the first 10 minutes, pinning the ball on the goalpost on a corner kick but the Green Bears had plenty more chances they made good on.
Serge Federov’s header on a pop-up pass from Adam Ayad with 28:54 to go gave the Green Bears the only goal they needed, but it was far from the last.
Walker Kight took a left-to-right backside pass from Brandon Lingo and crossed the goalie seven minutes later.
The same two players switched roles with 14:14 left when Lingo scored from Kight, and with just three seconds left, Kight scored after a left-side run from Carson Mackey for a 4-0 halftime lead.
Ottawa Hills scored four more times in the first 12 minutes of the second half to double that 4-0 lead.
Roth made 17 saves for the Panthers who finish their season with a league title and sectional crown.