XENIA — On Xenia High’s Senior Night before an Oct. 10 match with rival Fairborn, the public address announcer read off each of the six Buccaneer seniors’ best memories of their boys soccer careers.
One Bucs senior said his best memory was “beating Fairborn on my Senior Night!”
Was Xenia a tad over confident? Maybe.
Visiting Fairborn (4-11-1, 4-5-1 GWOC South) battled the host Bucs to a 2-all tie, and made Xenia (9-7-0, 5-4-1) earn its Greater Western Ohio Conference American South divisional crown along the way.
Xenia needed what Fairborn coach Greg Dierker contends was a questionable penalty kick with 27:43 left in the match to earn the tie.
“We had to beat them to win the division championship, and we out-played them,” Dierker said. “The only thing that ever bothers me is when a penalty kick that isn’t deserved changes the game. That call not only changed the game, but it changed the conference standings.
“It was a great side tackle by my defender, he got all ball, and their guy fell over him. It’s just frustrating that the match ends that way.”
Xenia junior midfielder/forward Cameron Atkinson took the penalty kick and scored into the left side of the Fairborn goal in the 60th minute to forge the tie.
Fairborn hasn’t defeated Xenia since the 2014 postseason, a match where they won 7-6 in a shootout. Xenia had been 3-0 in head-to-head matches since then and had outscored the Skyhawks by a combined 11-2 margin in those three contests.
The Skyhawks grabbed the early lead nearly three minutes into the match when Troy Herald drove into the right side of the Xenia defense, then crossed to junior midfielder Matthew Hoffman who got off a shot for the only score of the first half.
Xenia appeared to pick up its offensive pressure in the second half. They evened the match at 1-all in the 51st minute when Trevor McGuiness passed a crossing shot from his right. Senior midfielder Omar Ahmouda hit the ball in midair and kicked a hard line drive into the Fairborn goal for the tie.
About 5 minutes later, however, Fairborn’s Joe Nickel launched a shot from about 45 yards out that landed into the upper left corner of the Xenia goal to put the Skyhawks back out in front, 2-1.
Xenia never held a lead in the match.
“(Fairborn) played great, they really did. We came out in that first half and just laid an egg,” Xenia coach Keenan Mikal said. “… We had some opportunities at the end, and their kid made a great shot on that second goal. On a goal like that, you’ve just gotta tip your hat and say nice job. … I’m happy for our guys, though. They worked hard to get this title.”
Tuesday’s match was the final regular season match for both schools. Fairborn and Xenia have first-round byes in the Division I high school postseason tournament.
The 15th seeded Skyhawks await the winner of a Tuesday, Oct. 17 match between second-seeded Carroll and winless West Carrollton. Fairborn will take on the winner at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21.
Xenia, the sectional tournament’s No. 13 seed, also has a 7 p.m. Oct. 21 match next. They’ll take on the winner of an Oct. 17 match between No. 12 Tecumseh and No. 7 Miamisburg.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.