Hertenstein Heads It; Riders Win It

t. Marys’ Austin Hertenstein celebrates with Noah Vogel after Hertenstein game-winning header in a Division II sectional final on Wednesday.
Sports Editor

Before the season began, St. Marys coach Josh Hertenstein made a comment about the struggles his team had when it came to connecting on corner kicks.

Although those struggles have continued to be a season-long trend, the Roughriders picked a great time to finally connect on one.

After 80 minutes of play in regulation and the first 15-minute overtime half, the Riders finally got their corner kick goal and the biggest game of the season.

With 5:36 left in the second OT period, Andy Vogel took the corner kick and found teammate Austin Hertenstein positioned perfectly in front of the left front post of the Elida goal as the freshman headed the ball in past keeper Caleb Jones to send St. Marys to a Division II district tournament with a 2-1 win on Wednesday night at Roughrider Field.

“All season, we have been awful on corner kicks, but to win sectionals on a corner kick, that was a beautiful way to do it,” Hertenstein said. “We are still not good at it, but we will take it.”

The victory advances No. 3 seeded St. Marys (12-4-2) to a district semifinal against No. 2 seeded Shawnee (13-2-2) at 5 p.m. Oct. 22 at Elida. The Indians defeated the Roughriders 2-1 earlier this year at Shawnee.

But on Wednesday, the Riders embraced their sixth straight sectional title in what ended up being a defensive struggle.

Vogel — who usually takes corner kicks — tried a low-lining shot to the front post of the goal.

“I saw Austin setting up in front of the goal and I just knew it; I had a feeling,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a good opportunity for us.”

And getting harped on all season about the lack of goals via the corner kicks, Hertenstein said he knew exactly where he needed to be.

“All year, they have been telling us top get on the keeper, you can’t be moving around, you just have to find a spot,” the sophomore said. “So I decided, right in the front post and I know Andy can bend it over there. I put my trust in Andy and Andy sent it.”

Neither team scored in the first half, but Elida struck first at the 15:25 mark of the second half on a penalty kick from Joe Davis. However, 46 seconds later, Max Mielke found the back of the net for his fourth goal in the last two games on a pass in front of the goal from Thaigo Tassinari right where Mielke had settled as the junior pooched the ball over Jones’ head to tie it up.