Riders Fall Short To O-G

St. Marys’ Adam Tobin (7) races past an Ottawa-Glandof defender as he looks to kick the ball toward the goal during a Division II sectional final on Thursday at Roughrider Field.
Sports Editor

Playing against Shawnee was the goal.

After enduring its only Western Buckeye League loss of the season to state-ranked Shawnee, St. Marys coach Josh Hertenstein put it out there for all to see — we want to play Shawnee again. 

So with that goal in mind as a postseason began, it was a heartbreaking feeling when members of the Roughriders boys soccer team watched and listened as Ottawa-Glandorf players chanted "we want Shawnee, we got No. 1" following a 2-1 sectional championship defeat to the Titans on Thursday at Roughrider Field.

"I just feel bad for them that we couldn't have made a deeper run," Hertenstein said. "We had the team that could make a run and I think we had a team that matched up well against Shawnee. They only lost by a goal to Shawnee so maybe they could do something.

"But I was excited to see Shawnee again."

The Roughriders (10-4-4) earned their first win of the season against the Titans (7-7-3) and they played their last game of the season against the Titans on Thursday in what ended up being the first home playoff loss for the program dating back to 2004 — according to the school's website. 

For a team who scored 15 goals in their last two games coming into Thursday's Division II sectional final, the Roughriders were held to one goal — a rainbow pass from Kyle Steininger to Spencer Trogdlon as he got passed O-G goalkeeper Ethan Alt when Alt tried to cut him off.

Other than that, the Roughriders did not break through an O-G line that clogged up the middle of the 18-yard box — where St. Marys does a lot of its damage. 

"They were packing the box defensively," Hertenstein explained. "It was more of a kick-and-chase game for them. Get it out of the box, one or two touches and then send it. We didn't adjust, I didn't adjust soon enough to go on [Derek] Crumrine. That's my fault for not adjusting sooner.

"They didn't have too much offense after we took that away, but they had too many guys in the box."

The Titans did not muster much offense either, but they did just enough to come away with the win. 

Derek Crumrine connected after the ball ricochet off keeper Correy Nelson to the backside of the net at the 31:41 mark of the first half. Trogdlon connected at the 17:59 mark to tie the game, but Mitch Schroeder scored what ended up being the winning goal on another ricochet off Nelson with Schroeder cleaning it up with 15:28 remaining in the first half.

The Roughriders out-shot O-G 20-13. Nelson came away with eight saves and Alt finished with 12.

While St. Marys says goodbye to its seven seniors, the team still maintained the success that the program is used to seeing. The Roughriders claimed their 10th win for the 10th straight season in Monday's sectional semifinal win against Van Wert despite a year that saw the team start off sluggish with a 2-2-3 overall record. The Roughriders overcame that slow start by winning six straight and eight of nine entering Thursday's game to finish second in the WBL standings — their best league finish in a season since winning back-to-back WBL titles in 2013 and '14. The future is also bright with a talented junior group that was led by leading-scorer Tobin and Nelson in the goal.

Seven seniors played their final game as a Roughrider: Max Mielke, Vogel, Noah Francis, Gavin Lininger, Gavin Engel, Justin Grannan and Evan Menker.