LONDON — Senior midfielder Joshua Fleck knocked in a header from the right side off of Jonah Ackerson’s corner kick from the left and the Beavercreek Battlin’ Beavers won 1-0 over Dublin Coffman in double overtime, Nov. 8, in a Division I state semifinal at Powlus Field.
As the Shamrocks players walked off the field in disbelief, the Beavercreek bunch raced over to their student section to celebrate, where they were mobbed.
“The kids have heart. They have heart,” Beavercreek coach John Guiliano said afterward. “It felt like we’d been dominated for most of the game, and both teams had some really good opportunities. Just one of them had to go.”
Guiliano br0ught Fleck and goalie Liam Dipple into the center of the Beavercreek post-match huddle.
“Fellows, these two guys are who got you to the state championship tonight,” Guiliano said. And again the players erupted in a hearty cheer.
Fleck was humble in explaining how he managed to score the winning goal.
“This is phenomenal,” Fleck said. “We had so many chances, and our keeper made so many great saves. It was a battle through the whole game, but the ball just came right to me. It was a terrific kick, and I just put it away.
“It’s been just a handful of times that Beavercreek has been to state. This is our time, it’s our chance. And we’re going to do our best to win it!”
The Beavers (21-0-2), who came into the match ranked No. 2 in the state, are making their third trip to the state finals. They were runners-up in both 1990 and 2008. This is Beavercreek’s eighth appearance in the state Final Four.
The win was Guiliano’s 410th of his career. He’s now 410-107-85 in 29 years at Beavercreek.
Coffman, the state’s No. 3 team, finishes with an 18-2-2 record after making its first trip to the Final Four.
Beavercreek had its chances in the first half.
According to the press box statisticians, the Beavers took eight shots on goal, to four for the Shamrocks.
For the game, Dipple snagged eight saves for Beavercreek.
The Beavers nearly converted on both corner kick opportunities in the half. On the first one, the ball bounced just over the crossbar from a Beavercreek header in front of the goal. The second one looked to be kicked by Jonah Ackerson. The ball clanged off the left post before being cleared.
Beavercreek appeared to score on a throw-in with 2:51 left to play in regulation. The ball sailed high from the right side of the Shamrocks goal and in, but nobody had touched the pass and so the score was waved off.
The two teams were pretty even on corner kicks from the second half on, with Beavercreek having five to Coffman’s four.
As Guiliano gathered his troops at midfield for the post-match talk, he smiled and told his players “Gentlemen, we have practice tomorrow.”
The Beavercreek players cheered in response.
They don’t seem to mind practice, especially when it’s for a state championship!
According to the press box staff, the Beavers will next face Medina (a 2-0 winner over Cleveland St. Ignatius) in the D-I state title game, which is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 at MAPFRE Stadium, home of the Columbus Crew, in Columbus.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.