By Scott Halasz
BEAVERCREEK — It was a soccer game the Beavercreek Beavers would rather forget: A 3-3 tie against Springboro Sept. 29.
“We weren’t there at all for the first half,” Coach John Guiliano said Friday. “It was a reschedule of a game that got rained out. We played at 5 p.m. We were just not mentally or physically there. It was one of those things, that day they were playing better than we were.” The Panthers went up 2-0, and then after the Beavers took a 3-2 lead, tied it on a penalty kick.
That’s about all Guiliano cared to remember from that draw — one of just two blemishes on Beavercreek’s record — as the two teams prepare to play again. This time, however, there’s a lot more at stake as the winner of today’s 12 p.m. game at Centerville’s soccer stadium claims the Division-I Southwest Region championship and advances to next week’s state semifinal.
“This is a different mind-set, a whole different set up going into it,” Guiliano said. “We concentrate on basics and everything else and get the kids mentally ready for the game.”
Springboro was the No. 2 seed in the Dayton sectional, mostly because of a schedule that included Mason (ranked third in the final state poll), district finalist Centerville, Carroll (eighth in Division II), Cincinnati Summit Country Day (No. 1 in D-III) and Whitehouse Anthony Wayne (ninth in D-I), in addition to the aforementioned match with Beavercreek, which finished fifth in the final state poll. The Panthers entered the tournament 6-5-4, having lost three of four since the tie with the Beavers. They went winless in their last five matches but appear to be peaking at the right time, allowing just two goals in five tournament wins.
“You get to this point of the season, you’ve got to be playing well,” Guiliano said. “These teams can play. If you give them the opportunity to get up a goal or two goals up it’s going to be a tough row to hoe.”
Springboro isn’t an offensive juggernaut, scoring just 31 goals during the regular season. Christian Wright (eight goals, four assists) and Jake Langerfelder (seven goals, four assists) are the top threats. Cole Hamilton scored twice against Beavercreek but had just seven all season.
The key for Beavercreek, Guiliano said, is to possess the ball. Springboro plays for set pieces off restarts and corner kicks.
“We just have to be ready for that,” he said.
Obviously Beavercreek (18-1-1) is no slouch and can get goals from a plethora of players including Dominic Calabrese (14), Vince Young (16), who is back from an ankle injury that kept him off the field for a week, and Ryan Bernt (13). Every available player saw some action in the regional semifinal win against Mason.
“Our kids have been playing well,” Guiliano said.
Saturday’s winner plays the winner of the match between Dublin Coffman and Columbus St. Charles.