By Zach Gregory
CENTERVILLE — Behind four goals from Centerville’s Sam Mughrabi, the Elks beat Xenia 6-1 in a second-round playoff match, Saturday at Centerville Soccer Stadium.
Mughrabi scored three of his goals in the first half for the Elks (12-3-3). Centerville coach Jeff Monbeck said his team did a good job of setting Mughrabi up for goals.
“Sam is a very dynamic player. He likes to take players on. We did a good job of finding him in the box, two one-touch finishes in the first half and then a breakaway,” he said. “Sam’s not known to be a goal scorer, but Sam is a very dynamic player and, fortunately for us, he turned it on today.”
Xenia (11-6-1) tied the game with 25:56 remaining in the first half. Senior Zach Brunsman popped the ball up just over the reach of Centerville keeper Andrew Sucato. The Bucs seemed to have all the momentum, but Centerville quickly turned things around.
“We were losing our composure a little bit,” said Xenia coach Keenan Mikal. “I think sometimes the parents get too riled up and the kids get too riled up, and it’s hard to kind of pull them back and get them to settle down. We got the game tied up, and then we gave up two kind of soft goals.”
Down 3-1 at the start of the half, Brunsman had a good look on a breakaway to pull the Bucs within one.
“Zach had a good chance and our goalkeeper just kind of came up big,” said Monbeck. “If they score that goal, you’ll never see us score six goals total. So I think that was kind of the turning point of the match right there.”
Mikal said his team lacked the bite they had towards the end of the season.
“When we were on a win streak, we were going out and basically punching people in the mouth. We were winning the first tackles and things like that. And tonight, we just didn’t do that,” he said. “Hand it to Centerville. They came out and won all the 50-50 balls early, and I think sometimes we lacked the confidence that these guys should have.”
Mughrabi scored his fourth goal on a penalty kick with 33:04 remaining in the game. Jarrod Ferstl and Andrew Varner also scored goals for Centerville, who takes on Vandalia Butler at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Doug Adams Stadium.
Xenia graduates six seniors: Connor Reichert, Zach Brunsman, Daniel Miller, Michael Porter, Blake Bond and Casey O’Callaghan.
“They really stepped up. I don’t think a lot of people thought we would win as many games as we did. Some big shoes to fill,” said Mikal.
Reach Zach Gregory at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2124.