The Varsity Soccer Bombers traveled to Centerville HS on Saturday for a morning match vs. the Elks. St. Xavier entered the match with a 6-4-4 record while Centerville entered with a 10-1-3 record with their lone loss coming to Lakota East on September 5. Since then, they remained unbeaten in 7 straight matches. The Bombers were riding a 2 match win streak after wins over Walnut Hills and Elder.
The first half started all Bombers as St. Xavier continued to gain chance after chance but with no goal. Finally, with 4 minutes left in the opening half, junior Matthew Sutton played a ball to the middle to classmate Gino Geiser who found the back of the net with a strike. St. Xavier took the 1-0 lead to the locker room. The second half was much like the first as the Bombers continued to attack. With 29 minutes left in the half, St. Xavier converted a corner kick when junior Craig Wellens found Geiser on the cross who converted his second goal of the game. One minute later, senior Will Watkins converted a goal to bottom right of the goal on an assist from Geiser. Senior Lucas Marshall and the defense kept the Elks off the scoreboard and just before the end of the match, senior Conor Faulhaber found the back of the net after getting a cross from classmate Nathan Neal to seal the 4-0 victory to improve to 7-4-4 on the season. Senior GK Lucas Marshall recorded the clean sheet for St. Xavier.
On Tuesday, the Bombers welcomed GCL rival, LaSalle HS, to St. Xavier Stadium for a GCL match and senior night. Before the teams took the pitch, St. Xavier recognized their 16 seniors and parents who dedicated so much time over the past 4 years to the St. Xavier Soccer program. Those seniors include: Lucas Marshall, Charlie Stutz, Bailey Lach, Eddie Weber, Will Watkins, Nick Meyer, Josh Besl, Adam Scheidler, Nathan Iker, Conor Faulhaber, Adam Arar, Nick Bach, Nathan Neal, Marcus Bauer, Simba Mandizha and Andrew Warman.
St. Xavier entered the match with a 2-2-1 (7 pts) GCL record while the Lancers entered with a 0-3-2 GCL record (0 pts) with a 5-7-3 overall record. In the first meeting between the two teams at Kolping Park, the Bombers scored 3 goals and won the match 3-1 back on September 20.
The first half was controlled by St. Xavier as they forced much of the action in the LaSalle end of the field. However, the Bombers could not convert any of their 5 corner kicks in the half. Starting senior GK Charlie Stutz kept the Lancers off the scoreboard as well with 4 saves in the half along with help from Besl, Bach, Lach, Scheidler and sophomore Mike Scott on the defensive line for St. Xavier. With 6 minutes left in the half, St. Xavier had a flurry of 5 shots but once again could not find the back of the net after some great saves from the LaSalle keeper. The first half ended in a 0-0 tie.
LaSalle opened the 2nd half with an attack but could not convert on a free kick from 25 yards out as the Bombers cleared it out of danger with the help of Marshall, into the game at goalkeeper. The Lancers kept the attack on and missed just wide on a shot from about 5 yards out where Marshall forced a wider angle than desired. The Bombers forced the action and were awarded a corner kick 6 minutes into the half but could not convert. LaSalle then pressured the Bombers and received a free kick from 30 yards out but the header off the cross sailed wide. St. Xavier kept the pressure on the Lancers and earned two more corner kicks but came away empty and the game remained tied with 25 minutes left in the game. The Lancers came up with a couple of opportunities with 14 minutes left in the game but Marshall came up big for the Bombers as he made two saves to keep LaSalle off the scoreboard and the game tied. With 11 minutes left, St. Xavier was awarded a free kick from 35 yards out but the free kick sailed wide of the goal for a Lancers goal kick. The Bombers remained on the attack and earned their 10th and 11th corner kicks with 9 minutes left in the game but could not convert to keep it a nil-nil game. Finally, with with 6:31 left in the half Nathan Neal dropped a pass back to classmate Bailey Lach who snuck a shot past the goalie in the bottom left corner of the net from 25 yards out to give St. Xavier the 1-0 lead. The defense held the lead and the Bombers took home the 1-0 win on the clean sheet from Stutz and Marshall.
With the win, St. Xavier finishes the regular season with an 8-4-4 record and 3-2-1 (10 pts) in the GCL which is good enough for a 2nd place finish in the league. The Bombers turn their sights to the OHSAA Division I Boys Soccer Tournament. The draw took place on Sunday, October 8 and St. Xavier was voted as the #5 seed in the SW District which they took a bye into the second round. They will meet the winner of the #14 LaSalle/#23 Hamilton game at St. Xavier Stadium on Saturday, October 21 at 7:00. LaSalle will host Hamilton on Tuesday, October 17 at 7:00 pm at Lancer Stadium.