By MICHAEL BURWELL
ELIDA — When it rains, it pours. And in Monday’s Division II district boys soccer semifinal between Ottawa-Glandorf and Lima Shawnee, that applied to more than just the weather.
Shawnee broke through with a goal from Jacob Miller with 40 seconds left in the first half and kept the offensive onslaught going as the Indians knocked off the Titans 7-0 in a windy and rainy match at Elida Middle School.
“We just got our heads down after that,” O-G coach Kyle Metzger said of Miller’s first-half goal. “We just kind of imploded a little bit. We made one mental mistake and we just kind of fell apart from there.”
Shawnee (17-1), the No. 6-ranked team in the final Division II coaches poll and the No. 1-seed in the Elida District, advanced to take on No. 4-seed Kenton at 6 p.m. Thursday at Elida. The Wildcats (11-3-4) beat No. 3-seed Celina 3-0 in Monday’s other district semifinal at Elida.
O-G finished its season at 7-8-3.
Jacob Miller, a sophomore, scored the first three Lima Shawnee goals and had four overall, while freshman Austin Miller tallied three assists. Senior Carter Schaaf added two goals and the Indians also got an own goal.
Overall, Shawnee had a 23-4 advantage in shots on goal.
“I honestly think it’s the persistence of our style,” Shawnee coach Ryan Quatman said. “It’s not forgiving; midfield and also with our strikers, if you make one mistake, you might get away with it once or twice.
“We hit a couple over (in the first half), played some really bad balls in, but eventually, if you give us enough chances, it’s going to change. I think that we knock on the door so many times and then I think it gets frustrating for a team because they haven’t really had a lot of offensive chances. They had a couple, but they knew they were few and far between and I think it’s tough for a team to kind of get momentum against our team.”
O-G senior goalkeeper Ethan Alt, who is also the kicker for the Titans’ football team, totaled 14 saves. Six of those came in the first half in which he was running, diving and jumping all over the box to keep Shawnee off the board.
He had four saves in the final 10 minutes of the first half, including a diving save to the left as Carter Jensen rifled a shot on goal with 9:39 remaining. Alt also leaped to his right to stop Brayden Ward’s shot with 1:28 left and jumped to deflect Austin Miller’s shot in the final seconds of the half.
Quatman said his players didn’t get frustrated despite not being able to score on numerous first-half chances.
“It was frustrating for me,” Quatman said with a laugh. “But the boys really are composed. We talk about that a lot. We’ve played a lot of teams that kind of bunker and counter, and that style of play is super frustrating to play against. This is not the first team we’ve played against that lets us into their half and just prays that they don’t get scored against. So you just have to be patient, take high-percentage shots.”
Shawnee’s second score came with 32:29 left as Jacob Miller scored on a rebound after Alt dove and stopped Austin Miller’s shot.
Jacob Miller added his third goal less than four minutes later as he put a nifty move to get past Alt in the left side of the box and put the ball in the right corner of the net. Austin Miller had the assist.
“They smelled blood in the water and they came out and put a couple more in. We just couldn’t connect there and we were just on our heels the entire night after that,” Metzger said.
The Indians added four more goals in the final 20 minutes. Schaaf scored off Austin Miller’s assist, Jacob Miller scored his fourth goal, Schaaf added another and the Indians had an own goal after Jensen fired a shot that deflected off a sliding O-G player and past Alt.
The outcome was significantly different than the regular-season matchup between the two Western Buckeye League schools. Shawnee, the WBL champs, edged O-G 1-0 on Sept. 24.
“I thought they played a great game today and they played, I think, their best game of the season against us in the regular season,” Quatman said. “I watched their warmup and I thought there was two different teams. They played a great game in the season and this was a good game by them, but we just finished a lot of our chances.”
Dylan Birkemeier had a pair of saves for O-G in the final eight minutes. Landon Hoehn stopped all four O-G shots on goal for Shawnee.
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