The St. Marys boys soccer team cleared last year’s stumbling block and this season’s big opening Western Buckeye League hurdle.
The Roughriders knocked off defending WBL champ Shawnee 2-1 on Thursday evening a season after the Indians handed St. Marys their only two losses of the season.
Photo Gallery: Shawnee at St. Marys boys soccer http://www.flickr.com/photos/smeveningleader/sets/72157635302886572/show/ 
“We’ve been building the program so that we can take on the WBL champs and beat them,” St. Marys head coach Dave Ring said. “Last year we got one of them but not the other. I can’t wait to see the others. This is just hurdle one, but we prepared for this, played a heck of a tough schedule to get here just for this game and it sure did show. Our depth really helped.”
St. Marys bounced back from its first loss of the season at Marysville last Saturday and improved to 3-1 and 1-0 in the WBL.
Zack Wilker’s free kick with 15:15 left in the game gave St. Marys the winning margin. After a push was called, Zac Nelson faked the kick and Wilker tailed him with a line drive that deflected into the right upper part of the net for the goal.
“We got a good deflection,” Ring said. “We spent almost 45 minutes yesterday on free kicks. We know that’s our bread and butter. We were four games and that’s the third game we’ve scored. Shawnee did a great job of limiting us on getting corner kicks. We did a poor job of getting outside. Shawnee is an excellent team. We’re going to see them again in the playoffs. Hopefully we can do it again.”
Shawnee, which lost a lot from last year’s WBL title team, stuck with the Riders most of the way.
“It’s a typical game of two of the better teams in the league,” Shawnee head coach Dick Hagen said. “I was proud of our effort. We improved in a lot of phases and had our opportunities. They’ve got good speed and nucleus back from last year’s good team. It was a game that could’ve went either way and we happened to end on the short end. From our perspective I thought we played better.”
St. Marys struck first on Austin Quellhorst’s goal at the 25:57 mark of the first half. When the keeper came out, it left the net open for Quellhort’s ground kick that put the Riders up 1-0.
Shawnee tied the game with 20:27 left in the first half on Austin Davis’ goal on a line drive to the right side of the net.
“We gave up a goal we probably regret, but we didn’t let it affect us,” Ring said. “Our goalkeepers did a great job.”
St. Marys used both Stuart Yahl and Kaleb Fenwick-Miller in the net on Thursday. The two combined to make six saves.
The Roughriders travel to Kenton next Thursday for a WBL game.