By Zach Gregory
EATON — The Carroll Patriots are Division II District Champs once again.
After a couple of years of getting knocked out earlier than they would have liked, the Patriots get to keep playing in regional competition. But it wasn’t easy. In a defensive struggle, Carroll’s overtime goal was the only difference in a 1-0 win over Cincinnati Mariemont, Saturday at Eaton High School.
“It was a good game. Excellent game. They’re a very, very good team,” said Carroll coach Scott Molfenter.
Both teams had good looks at their opponents’ goal throughout the game, but defense was strong on both sides of the field. In the first half, Carroll (16-4) out shot the Warriors (15-3-2) five to three. The Patriots also had three corner kicks.
The defense continued in the second half. Carroll had six shots compared to Mariemont’s four, but there were very few uncontested looks and each team’s keeper did a good job of controlling plays in front of the net.
Matthew Teeters had six saves for the Warriors. Ben Wourms unofficially had four for the Patriots.
With three minutes left in the game, Carroll had a corner kick that landed in a crowd in front of Mariemont’s goal. Teeters came out to stop the ball, but was knocked over in the shuffle. With nobody in the goal, the Patriots weren’t able to score any points.
Near the end of regulation, both teams seemed to be running out of gas. Frustrations were running high as well. The referees issued a few yellow cards as regulation time ran down.
When overtime started, the Patriots came out with new life. After playing relatively low-key towards the end of regulation, Carroll was very aggressive to start the overtime. In the first seven minutes of the 15-minute period, Carroll had four shots on goal.
“We just get everybody’s best shot. We just knew that it could come down to one great opportunity. Both teams had them,” said Molfenter. “I was just proud of our guys coming through in overtime when they still had the legs to get it done.”
With 8:32 left to play in the overtime period, Colin Flaute heaved the ball in from the sideline. Ian Molfenter found the ball in front of the net and was able to put the ball in for the game-winning goal.
“We fell short here both times the last two years. We really wanted it this year. After every practice, guys were running sprints or working on stuff they messed up in practice. It really paid off tonight,” said Ian Molfenter.
The boys soccer team joins the girls, who defeated Hamilton Ross to win the district final. The girls play Oakwood at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Xenia’s Doug Adams Stadium.
“I was so proud of our girls the other night when they got that district win. It put a little pressure on the guys, so that was good,” said Scott Molfenter.
The Patriots play Greater Catholic League rival Kettering Alter in the regional final at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Centerville Soccer Stadium, which is located behind Magsig Middle School.
“We’re not done,” said Ian. “Tournament’s not over. We’re still trying to make a name for ourselves.”