WAPAKONETA — An exciting district semifinal match between the St. Marys and Shawnee boys soccer teams may be most remembered for the goal that didn’t show up on the scoreboard.
Shawnee won 4-1 to move on to the district final on Saturday, but it was a wild, controversial ride getting to that point.
“We’re happy to be moving on,” Shawnee head coach Dick Hagen said.
St. Marys appeared to tie the match off a corner kick, 2-2, midway through the second half of Tuesday’s Division II game at Wapakoneta, but after the teams had lined up at midfield for the kickoff, officials called St. Marys for having 12 players on the field and nullified the goal.
A livid St. Marys head coach Dave Ring argued the retroactive call during a lengthy delay as officials convened, but to no avail.
“They said we had 12 players on the field,” said Ring, who also felt his team didn’t have 12 on the field at the time.
“(If they felt St. Marys had 12 players on the field) the officials should have yellow carded us and we should’ve gotten the goal,” Ring continued. “It was very difficult. We lost our composure at the end...I thought my boys deserved the W.”
Shawnee dominated the rest of the action, scoring a pair of late goals against a discouraged Roughider team and advanced to Saturday’s district title game with a 4-1 win over the Roughriders.
“We played very hard, dominated offensive chances, the stats are going to bear that out,” Ring said. “We scored early and it was taken off the board. We got behind and came back. Every time we got in the game, the momentum was shifted by forces we couldn’t control.”
Even winning coach Dick Hagen said it was one of the wilder matches he’s ever seen. He thought the officials should’ve noticed the 12 players on the field before the corner kick that led to the tying score.
“There were some crazy things going on out there,” Hagen said. “Have you ever seen anything like that?...I don’t understand when they saw 12 on the field they didn’t blow the whistle right away and didn’t stop them from the (corner kick).”
Ring said he didn’t want the controversial call to overshadow Shawnee’s win, however.
“Hats off to Shawnee,” Ring said. “They stuck in the game and they get the W. I don’t want to tarnish it. It’s not their fault.”
St. Marys’ lone two losses of the season came to Shawnee. The Roughriders bow out of the postseason with a 13-2-3 record.
The 4-1 score matched Shawnee’s regular season win in Lima two weeks ago by the same score in which the Indians scored two late open-net goals to capture a share of the Western Buckeye League title.
Frustration took over for a St. Marys team that felt it outplayed the Indians.
St. Marys thought it had the first goal of the evening in the first half when Matt Dine headed in a shot with four minutes into the match, but the Roughriders’ celebration was abruptly ended by an offsides call.
St. Marys started the game aggressively and took away Shawnee’s best offensive weapons early.
“St. Marys really came out fired up,” Hagen said. “They played very well, espeically in the first half.
“I thought we came out really flat, but you have to give St. Marys credit,” Hagen said. “Teams can take you out of your game by just being very intense.”
The second half saw a flurry of activity near the nets — with the teams combining to score three goals in less than a 10-minute period of the second half.
Shawnee finally broke through with 36:13 left in the second half on Andrew Ritche’s goal on a cross and kick to the top of the net.
St. Marys answered back to tie the match 1-1 less than three minutes later with Zack Wilker’s goal. After a St. Marys header from the left side of the box, the ball dribbled to the right side for an easy Wilker kick in.
Shawnee went back ahead on Trey Brock’s long-distance goal with 27:06 left in the second half before the controversial call .
St. Marys had nothing left in the tank after the goal went off the board.
Alex Clark and Brock scored goals to seal the win.