BELLBROOK — The Carroll High School boys’ undefeated soccer season came to a dramatic end in the final 30 seconds of Saturday’s Division I district final at Bellbrook High School.
Neither team had scored as the clock ticked down to the final seconds. A foul, a free kick, and the only goal of the match earned the St. Xavier Bombers the title of District Champions, in a 1-0 upset victory over Carroll.
After the Lady Patriots fell in their district final match against Lakota West on Thursday, the boys were hoping to take home a district title and a shot at the regional game versus Cincinnati Moeller. Going into the district final, the Patriots were 17-0-2, having let in only six goals during the regular season.
The Bombers now have a record of 12-5-2, and had won six of their last seven games prior to taking on the Patriots, including their two postseason matches. Their only loss during this stretch was handed to them by Moeller, who they will rematch in the regional on Wednesday.
The playing conditions for the district match were utterly waterlogged, and players slid across the field almost as much as they ran. All evening, the Bombers had been hammering at the Patriots goal, but the Carroll defense was equal to the task, consistently clearing the ball away from its box. Early in the game, the Patriots had the most offensive presence, taking several shots on goal, and on one occasion forcing St. X goalie Briggs O’Toole to make a spectacular dive to tip the ball over the crossbar.
With less than a minute to go and no points on the board, a foul was called on Carroll. St. Xavier’s Andrew Beirne took the free kick 30 yards out. The ball sailed over the scrum inside the box and found junior John Schaeper, who headed it into the back of the net. The stadium erupted into cheers as an ecstatic Schaeper was dogpiled by his teammates.
After the game, St. Xavier head coach Brian Schaeper expressed pride in his champions. “It’s a fun game, a great way to win. Carroll’s a good team, coming in undefeated. Lots of dangerous players. They had their moments, I mean our keeper had to come up with a huge save.”
Schaeper also elaborated on just how far the Bombers have come this season. “We’ve grown this year,” he said. “Throughout the season we’ve tweaked things. Lineups have changed, and they’ve learned to work. They had to play harder as a team as the season has developed, and they’ve done that. When we started our year, our first four games we didn’t have a win. So we’ve certainly improved as the year goes on, and that’s certainly a credit to the boys putting in the work.”
Carroll coach Scott Molfenter was disappointed on behalf of his boys, but nonetheless gave credit to both teams for an excellent game. “It’s a tough way to end it. The kids played hard, they had a good season. We had a call against us late in the game, a controversial call, but they found the net. It’s a tough way to go out of the tournament. They did an outstanding job, and unfortunately we couldn’t find the back of the net. We had some really good chances early in the game that would have changed the complexion of the game and changed how we would have played a little bit. But that’s the way it happens sometimes.
“It’s a class program there when you can hold them to one goal in a game, and our kids have done great,” he said. “This is the seventh goal we’ve given up all season. The kids fought hard and showed they belonged, and we did what we could.”
Needless to say, the Carroll boys were disappointed in the end to their season, but Molfenter hopes that they can still appreciate the incredible work that got them this far. “These guys always expect more, and that’s what I want them to do. It’s going to be hard, but hopefully they look back on the season fondly because they had a good one.”
London Bishop is a freelance sportswriter for Greene County News.