XENIA — After giving up an early goal, the Xenia Buccaneers came back strong to defeat visiting Springfield Shawnee 9-1, Thursday night at Doug Adams Stadium.
The Braves (2-7) scored the first goal of the match 10 minutes into the game. Shawnee junior Daniel Kelly was bringing up the ball when Xenia defenders slowed him down. Bucs keeper Jared Robinson came out to help, but Kelly escaped the defensive pressure and put the ball in the net.
“I think just we were taking it too easy. We weren’t communicating very well. It happens,” said Xenia coach Keenan Mikal.
The Buccaneers (5-4-1) responded big on offense after the Shawnee goal. Senior Zach Brunsman scored the equalizer with 22:59 remaining in the first half, coming up on the left side and putting the ball across the goal to score in the opposite corner.
“He’s been doing great all year. He’s one of the main reasons why we are where we’re at,” said Mikal.
Brunsman had three more goals, and assisted on two more to junior Genius Gayse as Xenia took a 6-1 lead into halftime. Nate Higgins assisted on two of Brunsman’s goals.
“I felt like we played well out there. We were moving the ball around great. I felt like we had a good game overall,” said Brunsman.
The Bucs have now won two in a row after beating West Carrollton, 5-1, on Tuesday. They head into a match against Springboro next Tuesday, who is second in the South division of the Greater Western Ohio Conference just ahead of Xenia.
“A big game is coming up on Tuesday with Springboro. They’re a very good team, but I think our guys have been gaining confidence,” said Mikal. “I think that the only bad game we’ve had, where we weren’t very good at all, was Greeneview. That was it. All the other games, we’ve been right there.”
Xenia lost a competitive match against Lebanon, who leads the South division, 2-1, last week. Brunsman said he thinks the Buccaneers can compete with anybody.
“We’re trying to build confidence as we head into the tournament. We want to go far in the tournament,” he said. “As long as we come out strong and come out playing hard, I think we will do fine against Springboro.”
The Bucs take on Springboro at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Ralph E. Wade Sports Complex in Springboro.
The Xenia girls soccer team lost to Shawnee before the boys game Tuesday, 1-0. They are back in action when they host Springboro at 7 p.m. Monday at Doug Adams Stadium.