Rangers Advance to Districts

Staff Writer
The New Knoxville Rangers soccer team had to manage a second half comeback, but with a pair of goals in the second half, the No. 8 seeded Rangers completed the upset with a 3-2 victory over No. 5 seeded Lima Central Catholic in a Division III sectional championship at Spartan Stadium.
 
During the regular season, the Thunderbirds defeated the Rangers 4-3 as Trey Horstman scored all four goals, but on Wednesday, the Rangers were able to contain Horstman and it paid off.
 
The Rangers (9-6-3) will face Kalida (8-3-6) in district semifinal at 7 p.m. next Wednesday at Kalida High School.
 
New Knoxville got on the board first when Joseph Baende put a shot past Jack Zerante with 34:05 left in the first half, but Horstman got loose with 12:49 left off a pass from Odie Ugwanye to tie the game at 1-all.
 
With a minute and a half left in the first half the Rangers had a scare when Ugwanye took two quick shots right in front of the Rangers' goal, but freshman Josh Deitsch made both saves to keep the score tied going into the half. Deitsch — a Western Ohio Soccer League Honorable Menton selection — finished with 13 saves in the game.
 
About three minutes into the second half, the Thunderbirds took the lead on a goal by Josuah Simpson off an assist from Ugwayne.
 
With 28:39 left in the game, however, New Knoxville answered when the Rangers got the tying goal on a shot by Patrick Covert off an assist from Zach Davis.
 
Just six and a half minutes later, New Knoxville scored what proved to be the winning goal by Jose Maria Rabadan with 20:35 left.
 
Wednesday's win marks the first sectional title for a New Knoxville team since 2013 when that team fell to Kalida, 3-0, in a district semifinal. The Rangers have not lost a game since Oct. 2 and have won five of their last six games.

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