SPRINGFIELD — Botkins came up with great defensive efforts to win a regional title last week. But in a Division III state semifinal at Springfield High School on Wednesday, the team couldn’t come up with a similar shutdown effort.
Columbus Wellington scored two goals in the first half to jump start a 4-0 victory and end the Trojans’ season.
“It was unfortunate tonight,” Botkins coach Kevin Lynch said. “A couple of calls went against us, and if they’d have went the other way, we may have been able to stay in the game a little bit longer. We’ve had some games where the luck went the other way, and unfortunately Lady Luck wasn’t on our side tonight.
“We had a really great season and have nothing to be ashamed of. (Wellington) is a really great team for sure.
Wellington advances to a state championship match for the first time in program history. The Jaguars will face the winner of the Canfield South Range vs. Bluffton state semifinal at 4 p.m. on Sunday at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus.
Botkins finishes 19-1-2 overall. The Trojans earned district and regional titles for the first time this year in addition to winning their fifth consecutive outright Western Ohio Soccer League title in regular season.
The Trojans are likely to earn more titles next year. The squad will lose three seniors to graduation and will have the rest of its 18-man roster back, including freshman goalkeeper Carson Motter and leading scorers Zane Paul and Zack Ware among others.
Paul, a junior, led the squad with 43 goals while Ware, a junior, scored 28. Motter had 79 saves entering Wednesday’s game and will be aided next year by the return of most of the team’s defenders.
“Hopefully we’ll be back here next year,” Lynch said. “It was a good experience for the boys. …I’m proud of the boys and their work. They deserved everything they got this year.”
Botkins had allowed just one goal in six tournament games entering Wednesday’s match and had shut out both its regional opponents, but Wellington took the lead less than 10 minutes into the game. Motter dove to try to make a stop, but the ball bounced behind him to Wellington’s Freddie Lin, who smashed the ball into an undefended goal with 31:20 left.
Lin scored another goal behind a diving Motter with 3:18 left in the first half to put Wellington ahead 2-0.
“They moved the ball really, really well,” Lynch said. “Playing on turf I think helped them out, because I guess they play on it all the time. We play on it in tournament time, and you can definitely see the difference.”
The Jaguars quickly added to their lead in the second half. After taking a pass, Jordan Livits dribbled the ball near the goal, went around a diving Motter and scored with 36:22 left.
Botkins’ best chance to score came out 10 minutes later. The Trojans crowded around the goal and had three shots on goal, the last of which soared over the goal and out of bounds.
Livits scored another goal with 19:28 left. He took a pass from a teammate as Motter dived for the ball, then kicked it in to increase the lead to 4-0.
The Jaguars controlled the ball for most of the game. They outshot Botkins 8-0 unofficially in the first half and 6-5 in the second half.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.