By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
It was a successful night for Moeller and St. Xavier, the top two finishers this season in the Greater Catholic League South Division soccer standings and the top two seeds, respectively, entering the Ohio High School Athletic Association Southwest Section / District Tournament. No. 1 Moeller recorded its second win this season against Mason, 2-0, Thursday night at Lakota East High School to win the Southwest 2 District, while No. 2 St. Xavier beat previously undefeated Dayton Carroll, 2-1, on penalty kicks at Lebanon Junior High School to win Southwest District 2.
Moeller and St. Xavier advance to the regional semifinals on Halloween night against the two of the top teams from the Eastern Cincinnati Conference. Moeller (16-1-3) will oppose Anderson (13-3-2) at 7 p.m. next Wednesday at Lebanon Junior High School. Anderson won its third consecutive district title by knocking off defending state champion Beavercreek, 2-1, in overtime on a goal by senior Nate Moore off a corner kick with 31 seconds remaining in its district final at Lakota East.
St. Xavier (13-3-3) will play Turpin (15-1-3) in the regional semis that same night at Monroe High School after the Bombers earned their second straight district crown. Turpin, which opened sectional play with a 1-0 victory against GCL South member Elder last week, earned the district crown with a 1-0 victory against Springboro Thursday at Princeton’s Viking Stadium. Turpin’s lone loss this season is to Loveland, 4-0, in the regular-season finale.
Moeller has turned it up defensively in the postseason, behind outstanding goalkeeping from junior Cal Collins and sound team defense. The Crusaders recorded shutout No. 12 against Mason, setting the school single-season record that was previously 11 set back in 1999. Collins has been in goal for 10.5 shutouts, having split time in net on Senior Day and the first two tournament games to help prevent injury, said coach Mike Welker.
The Crusaders, who have outscored four postseason opponents a combined 16-0, got first-half goals from Connor Andrews and Kade Tepe – which would be more than enough as Moeller’s defense was solid in the second half, along with Collins in net. This is the fourth district title in Moeller’s soccer history, and the Crusaders have allowed the fewest goals – 10 in 20 games.
After playing to a 1-1 tie after the second overtime, St. Xavier and Carroll went to penalty kicks to determine the district title – which was ultimately won by St. Xavier, 5-4. All five Bombers – Matthew Sutton, Andre Beirne, Michael Wampler, Will Bronsil and Craig Wellens – converted penalty kicks to outlast Carroll, 5-4, and keep its postseason journey alive. The loss was the first this season for Carroll (19-1-0), which entered the match as the GCL Co-Ed champion sporting a combined 33-3-2 record the last two seasons. Sutton scored the Bombers’ lone goal in regulation.
Nick Aronoff was in goal for St. Xavier.