By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
No. 1 seed Moeller, Elder and La Salle all posted victories Monday night on the statewide opening night of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Southwest Sectional Tournaments held at the sites of the highest seeded teams. As a result, the three schools advance to second-round matches on Thursday night, while No. 2 seed St. Xavier will open postseason play that night by hosting Hamilton, a 4-2 winner in its opener against Middletown, at 7 p.m. at St. Xavier Stadium. The Bombers had a first-round bye by virtue of the tournament draw.
Moeller (13-1-3), the Greater Catholic League South Division champion and No. 2 ranked team in the state, got a goal and two assists from junior center midfielder Parker Grinstead to defeat Winton Woods, 4-0, early Monday evening at the Gerry Faust Athletic Complex on Moeller’s Montgomery Road campus. Jake Renneker scored the Crusaders’ first goal at 2:28 and, after Grinstead scored, Ben and Sam Hegge also found the net in the first half for Moeller – which advances to the second round to meet Western Hills at 5 p.m. Thursday at Moeller. The goal was No. 11 this season for Ben Hegge.
Elder (6-6-5) also was victorious in its sectional opener, posting a 5-0 win against Princeton at the Panther Athletic Complex in Price Hill. The Panthers were led by three goals from senior midfielder Parker Niehaus, while Cam Jansing and Nick Hunter each added a goal. Nathan Bill recorded two assists, while Drew Brown and Frankie Sabato combined to register six saves for the shutout. Elder advances to meet No. 4 seed Turpin at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Spartans enter the match with a 12-1-3 record, the lone loss coming to Loveland, 4-0, in the regular-season finale.
La Salle (6-9-2) had to hit the road for its first-round match, but the Lancers gave the GCL South a perfect 3-0 mark Monday by defeating Lebanon, 3-1, to move into the second round. La Salle scored three first-half goals, including two from junior midfielder Kyle Daugherty and the other from sophomore forward Maxwell Waters. The Lancers, like Elder, will travel and face a member of the Forest Hills Local School District and Eastern Cincinnati Conference. La Salle will oppose Anderson, which finished the regular season with a 10-3-2 record, at 7 p.m. Thursday at the school’s Brown Stadium.
St. Xavier (10-3-3), the only GCL South school that did not have a first-round match, will begin its postseason journey looking to win its fourth straight. The Bombers are led by senior forward Gino Geiser, who tied for the most goals scored in the GCL South during the regular season, with 10. Senior center midfielders Matthew Sutton and Craig Wellens enter the sectional tournament each having scored eight goals.