GEOFF BLANKENSHIP/Courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer
Wheelersburg’s Braxton Sammons (27) battles for the ball with Mariemont’s Henry Buck during Wednesday’s state semifinal at Springfield High School. Mariemont shut out the Pirates, 5-0.
By DEL DUDUIT
Southern Ohio Today
SPRINGFIELD – Mariemont took the Wheelersburg out of its game plan and won 5-0 on Wednesday to advance to the Ohio Division III boys high school soccer finals this Saturday.
The Warriors (22-0-0) took 30 shots on goal to Wheelersburg’s six and dominated all ends of the field.
“They are as advertised,” Wheelersburg Coach Jon Estep said of the No. 1 ranked Warriors. “There is a reason they have been ranked at the top all year long. We knew they were fast. We saw them on film, but once we got on the field they seemed even faster. One thing you cannot account for is speed.”
Mariemont applied pressure all night and kept the ball away from Wheelersburg’s Aaron Jolley, the team’s leading scorer and offensive threat Braxton Sammons.
Jolly, who has scored 117 points in four years and 48 this season, was limited to one shot on goal and Sammons was not able to get a clean look at the net.
“They put us on our heels a lot,” Estep said. “We had some breakdowns and teams at this level will take advantage of that. They were all over the field and their size and speed was just something we could not match up with. They are a really good team.”
Mariemont scored in the 10th minute of the first half when Luke Brothers booted a corner kick to Evan Ferrell, who tapped the ball into the net for the 1-0 lead.
Then in the 17th minute, Brothers again corner kicked the ball in front of the goal and Boden Gall headed it into the back of the net for the 2-0 lead.
“We had a couple of opportunities in the second half with back to back corner kicks but could not get a touch on the ball,” Estep said.
Two corner kicks from Wheelersburg’s Jacob Saxby could not be converted in the 42nd minute.
But Brothers sent one in front of the net for Mariemont that was deflected, and Kyle Croll tapped the ball in to put his team in command at 3-0 in the 55th minute.
“We just could not capitalize on the few chances we had, and they did,” Estep added. “We played hard, but was not able to get any offensive rhythm going.”
Brothers and Croll again connected in the 61st minute and Chase Hollander followed up with a score in the 71st minute to make the final count.
The Pirates finish the season 21-1-0 and won the Southern Ohio Conference II and captured the school’s first Division III regional championship.
Mariemont will face Cardinal Mooney from Youngstown on Saturday for the state title.