By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Moeller and St. Xavier, the top two finishers in the Greater Catholic League South Division soccer standings this fall, advanced to their respective district finals with victories Tuesday in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Soccer Tournament. Moeller, the No. 1 overall seed in the Southwest District, moved to the SW District 1 final with a 4-1 win over Lakota East at Sycamore High School, while No. 5 seed St. Xavier advanced to the SW District 2 title match with a 1-0 win over Mason at Princeton High School’s Viking Stadium.
The Crusaders (14-1-3) – who have an eight match unbeaten streak – will face Centerville (13-3-3) in the district championship at 7 p.m. Saturday at Hamilton High School. Centerville advanced to the district final with a 2-1 overtime win Tuesday over fellow Greater Western Ohio Conference members Springboro at Springfield High School. The two teams did not play during the regular season; Centerville did play St. Xavier on October 7, a match won 4-0 by the Bombers. The winner advances to the Region 4 semifinals against either Beavercreek or Lakota West on Wednesday, November 1 at 7 p.m. at Lebanon Junior High School.
The Bombers (10-4-4) will oppose Loveland (12-6-1), winner of seven straight matches, in the district final at 7 p.m. Saturday at Princeton. Loveland defeated No. 4 Fairfield, 3-0, in Tuesday’s semifinals at Hamilton to remain alive in the postseason. The St. Xavier-Loveland winner will meet either Anderson or Dayton Carroll in the other regional semifinal at a date, time and site that has yet to be determined by the OHSAA. Loveland is 0-1-1 against GCL South members this season, playing to a scoreless tie against La Salle back in August and then falling to Moeller, 3-0, on September 30.
Moeller’s win against Lakota East moves the Crusaders into a tie with their 1995 team for most wins in a season, 14 – second only to the 1994 Moeller team that finished with 18 victories. Moeller is making its 12th appearance in the district title match, and looking for its second district championship in three years and fourth overall (1994, 2010 and 2015). Senior Will Lonneman and sophomore Jordan Walter each scored one of Moeller’s four goals against East, moving Lonneman into ninth place in Moeller history for most goals in a single season, now with 12. Walter, by scoring goal No. 11, has moved into the lead for most points scored in the GCL South this season, with 27.
Walter and junior Ben Hegge each notched two assists for Moeller.
St. Xavier was able to score the lone goal of its match against Mason 16 minutes into the first half, and Lucas Marshall and the Bombers’ defense made it stand up against the always-tough Comets. Will Watkins took a shot from just inside the penalty box, which was deflected by a Mason defender. Bombers’ junior Gino Geiser chased down the deflection and score from six yards out to give St. Xavier the early 1-0 lead. While Marshall only recorded two saves, Bombers’ coach Brian Schaeper said he was impressed with the way his keeper handled serves into the box from Mason restarts (free kicks and corner kicks).