LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Butler County — It appeared to be a harmless pass up the middle.
But in soccer those sometimes turn out to be the most dangerous and Beavercreek found that out in a Division-I district final against Mason Saturday. Seven minutes in, Sophomore Maddy Baird took a defender-splitting pass from junior Emilia Green down the middle and she was able beat the keeper, who came out and attempted a sliding stop, for the game’s only goal in a 1-0 Mason win at Lakota East High School.
Mason (16-1-2) will take on Centerville at 7 p.m. today at Centerville High School, while the Beavers end their season 16-3.
“It came down to one play and that was it,” ‘Creek coach Steve Popp said. “Made a nice play.”
Mason controlled much of the first-half action, but Beavercreek had a couple opportunities. With 13:40 left, senior Cassie Rodriguez made a nice pass to Kellie Hawkins, who sent a shot off the keeper for a corner. About six minutes later, a long shot was tipped over the crossbar for a corner.
Three minutes into the second half, junior Maci Rhoades curved a 40-yard shot left to right inches high, off the crossbar and then 15 minutes later, Sophomore Ella Walling found sophomore Addy Canter with a nice pass, but her shot in the box was just high.
That was the extent of Beavercreek’s legitimate scoring chances.
“We had some,” Popp said. “It’s nice to get chances. Typically you need to get results.
Despite the loss in the district final, Popp was happy with the team’s overall results this season, especially after losing 18 players the last two years, a tough schedule that included three matches each against Centerville (regional semifinalist) and Miamisburg (district finalist), and all the COVID-19 related activity.
“I’m really proud of the kids,” he said. “We went through a lot. To finish 16-3 with so many distractions beyond everyone’s control. I’m extremely happy with what they were able to do.”
The Beavers, who finished No. 11 in the final state poll and No. 2 in the final area poll, graduate eight seniors and return four of their top five goal scorers. The senior class, which ironically lost to Mason, 1-0, in the tournament its freshman season, went 76-6-2 with a state title during its four years.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.