FINDLAY — The St. Marys boys soccer team is riding its defense along a path of 1-0 wins to the doorstep of the state tournament.
Jared Rose knocked in the game-winning goal in scrum in front of the goal in the closing minutes of the second overtime, avoiding the ordeal of penalty kicks and extending the Roughriders’ season into November for the first time in the program’s history with a 1-0 win over the Maumee Panthers at Graham Memorial Stadium in Findlay on Wednesday.
“The defense is just outstanding and we just keep fighting,” St. Marys head coach Dave Ring said.
“That’s been our way all season,” Ring said. “We continue to do it. When you play that good of defense, you’re eventually going to wear them down and get something.”
St. Marys will now face Bay Village Bay in a Division II Regional championship game on Saturday at noon with a trip to the state final four on the line. The OHSAA website had not desginated a site for the game as of print time.
The Roughriders are just a win away from a berth in the state’s final four, and its defense is the major reason.
St. Marys kept Michigan State-bound Alex Wagener from scoring. Wagener scored 30 goals this season, but St. Marys stuck standout defender Detrique Mines on him and the rest of the defense stayed close in the Roughriders’ 12th straight shutout dating back to mid-September.
“It was the same plan as before,” Mines said. “Be close as possible, win every ball. He’s a good player. It was 50-50 on who won it most of the time.”
“We set him down with Detrique and put on someone with equal skill,” Ring said. “That’s two Division I-level players against each other and it was fun to watch,” Ring said. “He won some, Detrique won some, Luke Lemmerman came back to help him some and I don’t think there’s another team with the players we’ve got back there in those two.”
“Luke had my back,” Mines said.
Ring calls his defense the best in the state. Mines doesn’t mind those expectations placed on the group.
“It gets our confidence up,” Mines said. “It makes us hold up that standard.”