A pair of ties to Bulldogs — of the Elida and Celina variety — kept the St. Marys boys soccer team from celebrating a Western Buckeye League title last season.
St. Marys already beat Elida earlier this fall on its quest to get the championship . With Monday night’s win over Bath, the Riders have given themselves a chance to flip the script against Celina, too.
St. Marys (7-1-1) stayed perfect in Western Buckeye League play heading into Thursday night’s rivalry game against Celina with a 3-0 victory over the Bath Wildcats on Monday.
St. Marys earned its fourth shutout of the season and improved to 4-0 in the Western Buckeye League, setting up Thursday night’s match at Celina.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way we controlled,” St. Marys head coach Dave Ring said. “We’re 4-0 in the WBL and in first place. That’s a good thing.”
Celina’s 0-0 tie with the Riders a season ago was a stunner and loomed large when St. Marys missed out on its first-ever WBL soccer crown.
This year Celina is just a game behind the Riders at 3-1, tied for second with Shawnee. Wapakoneta is 2-0-2 in WBL play.
“It’s not so much about revenge, but as it is a reminder of what it cost us last year,” Ring said. “We’re at the same point in our season again where a misstep can cost us the prize that everybody knows we’re chasing.”
St. Marys had 12 shots on goal to Bath’s two shots on Monday.
“We just have to continue to work because you can see us getting better,” Ring said. “You can see that our opportunities are there. We missed out on two setters, which is disappointing, but we’re getting better.”
St. Marys’ Joe Poeppelman opened the scoring at the 28:03 mark of the first half.
The Roughriders’ Matt Dine put them up 2-0 wiht a goal with 11:48 left in the first half.
St. Marys scored its third goal on a Zach Wilker header off a corner kick by Det Mines with 10:16 left in the match to go up 3-0.
“It was great to finish off our opponent,” Ring said.
St. Marys used both Stuart Yahl and Kaleb Fenwick-Miller in goal to share in the shutout.
“It gave me a chance with one a little hurt and it was nice to have a back-up you can trust to make sure we’re ready for Celina,” Ring said.
St. Marys travels to Celina on Thursday night at 5 p.m.