CINCINNATI — Botkins’ defense had shut down powerful opponents this season, but the squad couldn’t hold down top-ranked Cincinnati Mariemont on Saturday.
The Trojans’ bid at a second consecutive state berth was derailed in a 4-0 loss in a Division III regional final at Mariemont’s Kusel Stadium. The Warriors, which lost 1-0 to Botkins in a regional semifinal last year, had possession for most of the game and had over 20 shot attempts.
“They wanted it pretty bad today I think,” Botkins coach Kevin Lynch said. “… We tried our best; sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. We just didn’t play our best game tonight. They put us under a lot of pressure; my hat’s off to them.”
Mariemont (21-0) was the No. 1 ranked team in the final state coaches association poll. After a couple of close misses, the squad scored when Stefan Nistor made a goal after a pass from Sam Ciolino with about 23 minutes left in the first half.
Evan Farrell scored a goal before halftime to boost the lead to 2-0, then Boden Gall scored with 26 minutes left in the second half after an assist from Farrell. Luke Brothers scored the team’s last goal.
Botkins finishes 17-4-1 overall. The Trojans captured their sixth consecutive Western Ohio Soccer League title this season and second district title.
“We had a great year,” Lynch said. “I can’t complain. Back-to-back regional final appearances for the first time, that’s great.”
The squad will lose seven seniors to graduation: Zane Paul, Zack Ware, Denton Homan, Dalton Lane, Nathan Schneider, Justin Shuga and Conner Smock.
“I’m proud of the work they’ve put in over the last four years,” Lynch said. “Most of them have been starting since they were freshmen. …They’re great kids, not only on the field but off the field. They’re just fun to be around. It’s sad to see them go. It’s going to be tough next year, but we move on.
“… They put the program on the map. Before these guys, Mariemont had no idea where Botkins, Ohio is. We beat them last year, and I think they kind of took us a little light. They probably thought, ‘Who the heck is Botkins?’ We showed them we could actually play some soccer, and I think they took us more seriously this year.”
Paul was named the WOSL player of the year and was a first team all-league selection along with Homan, Schneider, Smock, Ware and sophomore goalkeeper Carson Motter. Ware scored a team-high 31 goals this season while Paul scored 28 and Schneider scored 15.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.