All Skills, No Luck In Riders' Sectional Final Win

St. Marys' keeper Henry Spencer snatches the ball out of the air in the second half of a Division II sectional final.
By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Sports Editor

After a 3-1 Western Buckeye League defeat last week to St. Marys, Wapakoneta coach Keith Rambin implied that St. Marys was lucky on some of its shots and that the final score was not indicative on how much his team outplayed the Roughriders.

But Thursday’s Division II sectional championship score at West Intermediate School was indicative of the kind of skills the Roughriders put on Rambin’s Reskins instead.

Outplaying their WBL foes to the east, the Roughriders limited Rambin’s offense to two shots on goal in the first half and shut out the Redskins 2-0 with a solid performance in the goal by Henry Spencer.

St. Marys has now won seven straight and have not lost in 10 consecutive — and luck certainly has nothing to do with that — as the Roughriders now have a date with Elida in a district tournament.

Goals by Ethan Mielke and Evan Vogel gave the Riders the lead and insurance, but it was the St. Marys defense who played exceptional, limiting the Redskins to eight shots on goal on the night, with only a handful being quality shots, while Spencer ended the game with a clean slate on the scoreboard with eight saves.

St. Marys' first goal came at the 21:48 mark of the first half when Austin Wilker picked up his 22nd assist on a throw in to Mielke, who used his head to shoot the ball past Wapakoneta keeper Ross Burkhart for a 1-0 lead.

Vogel tallied his team-leading 27th goal on the season on a penalty kick at the 36:26 mark of the second half off a hand ball by Wapakoneta inside the goal box. The senior's goal was his 41st of his career, needing four more to tie the record for most goals in a career and was the 73rd goal by the Roughriders this season — most by any St. Marys boys soccer team in school history.

After Vogel's PK, it was up to the defense to collect its seventh shutout of the season.
It took nearly 20 minutes after Vogel's goal for the Redskins to tally a shot on goal in the second half as defensmen Howie Spencer, Evan Menker and Max Mielke stymied the Redskins forwards.

And if any Wapakoneta attackers were lucky enough to get a shot off, Spencer was their to clean it up, collecting five saves, including one with 11:30 remaining in the contest when the sophomore leaped in the air to snatch the ball in the middle of a crowd.

“They believed (his players) in the process in practice,” said Roughriders coach Dave Ring. “Wapak made us look bad (in the first game) and Rambin put in the paper that we got lucky and I can’t argue that.
“But I will tell you this, they didn’t get lucky today. We learned, we took our luck and we showed them what skill looked like and anybody who wanted to see it — it was on display today.

For the full story, read Friday's print edition of The Evening Leader.