By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Led by junior goalkeeper Cam Collins and its stingy defense, Moeller increased its single-season shutout record to 13 on a rainy Wednesday at Lebanon Junior High School on its way to a 4-0 victory against Anderson on Halloween night in the Division I regional semifinals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Boys’ Soccer Tournament – moving the Crusaders one win away from a trip to the DI Final Four for the first time in the program’s history. Moeller last played in the regional final back in 2015, falling to Mason, 1-0, in that match.
It came close to being an all-Greater Catholic League South Division final, with Moeller and St. Xavier potentially headed for a third meeting this season before the Bombers fell to Turpin, 2-1, in Wednesday’s other regional semifinal at Monroe High School. The loss snapped a six-match winning streak for St. Xavier (13-4-3), which made it to the regional semifinals last season before losing to Anderson, 2-1, in overtime. Senior forward Max Murphy scored off a corner kick early in the second half to score the go-ahead goal for Turpin, which made the lead stand up behind a solid defense.
Senior forward Gino Geiser scored the lone goal for St. Xavier. Geiser goal was the first allowed by Turpin in its four postseason games. The Spartans have recorded 14 shutouts this season.
Moeller (17-1-3) – which has not allowed a goal in five postseason matches and has outscored its playoff opponents by a combined 20-0 – will face Turpin (16-1-3) at 3 p.m. Saturday at Lakota East High School. If Moeller wins, it will equal the school record for most wins in a season, 18, set back in 1994. The only losses for Moeller and Turpin came in their regular-season finales. Moeller lost to Dublin Coffman, 3-2, while Turpin fell to Eastern Cincinnati Conference regular-season champion Loveland, 4-0.
Against Anderson, which Moeller had not played since recording a 2-0 victory on August 26, 2017, the Crusaders got goals from four different players this time – Jake Renneker, Ben Hegge, Kade Tepe and Ethan Howell. Both teams were held scoreless for almost the entire first half, until Renneker scored with just 2:33 left before intermission to give Moeller a 1-0 lead. Renneker’s throw in 10 minutes into the second half was put into the net by Hegge, giving the Crusaders what turned out to be an insurmountable two-goal advantage. Tepe and Howell later scored to make it 4-0.
Anderson was at a disadvantage with senior forward Brodie Sallows trying to play through an injury he suffered in the district final. Sallows led the ECC in goals this season, with 20. The Redskins finished an impressive 13-4-2 under first-year coach Sam, Miller.