It's win or go home time in the soccer season.
A Southview team with 19 seniors decided to extend its season as the Cougars upset seventh-ranked Anthony Wayne 2-1 in a Division I regional semifinal at Central Catholic.
Jared Lyle, who hadn't scored a goal all season, put both of the Cougars' goals into the net to hand the Generals (16-1-2) their only loss of the season.
"We had a goal of coming out and doing as well as we could," said Lyle, a senior. "I had been practicing a lot on finishing lately, and I just put it through [for goals] this time."
Not only did the win advance Southview into a regional final meeting with Westlake High School at noon Saturday at Sandusky High School, it also avenged a 9-3 thrashing by AW to end the regular season. Westlake beat Medina Wednesday 3-0.
Lyle's second goal came with just over 28 minutes left in the second half to break a 1-1 tie. It gave the Cougars (15-3-2) a lead over one of the state's top-ranked teams and clearly a mental edge.
Defensively, Southview played steady and seemed more assertive as the minutes ticked off the clock.
"There was a lot of senior will," said Southview coach Chad Cody, of the Cougars. "They didn't want this to be their last 80 minutes of soccer. They wanted to come to practice tomorrow and they made it happen."
The Generals went into the contest riding a four-game win streak since playing in a 3-3 tie contest with St. Frances de Sales on Oct. 6.
AW coach Brian Billings thought the Generals may have been outmatched by the Cougars, playing with a sense of urgency and a more experienced roster.
"They didn't want to go home, yet," Billings said, of Southview. "Unfortunately we didn't match that intensity across the field. As a group, they just seemed to want it more. You could see that because they got to the ball faster than we did. They did everything just a little better than us."
The last time both NLL teams met a few weeks ago Southview was ahead 3-0 at the half. The Generals stormed the Cougars for a 9-3 come-from-behind victory, securing the NLL title. Wednesday’s game was a different day.
A dozen goals wouldn't be scored. There wouldn't be any comebacks.
It was a postseason matchup with defense dictating the game's tempo.
AW's Andrew Yokum broke a scoreless tie when he booted a shot past Southview goalie Eric Breeden from close range with 22:15 remaining in the first half. Nick Frank was credited with an assist on the scoring play to help AW take the early lead.
But Southview (14-3-2) tied the score approximately 12 minutes later when Lyle smashed a free kick from 30 yards out past AW goalie Austin Kaminski with 10:45 remaining before halftime. The NLL rivals went into the half locked in a 1-1 tie.
Southview's Dan Blackmar came into the contest leading the Cougars with 27 goals. He played just over a half before suffering an injury that left him watching most of the second half from the sideline.
Lyle responded by giving the Cougars a 2-1 lead when he scored his second goal with 28:06 remaining in the match.
As for AW, Billings doesn't believe the season-ending loss to Southview diminishes the Generals' winning season.
"It was an excellent season," Billings said. "At the beginning of the year, no one expected us to be where we are today. We had a great season and unfortunately this is our first loss and our last game. I can't be any more prouder than I am of the kids."
Ottawa Hills knocks off Archbold to advance
FINDLAY — Ottawa Hills came from behind to earn a 2-1 victory over Archbold in the Division III regional semifinal game on Wednesday at Findlay High School.
Archbold scored first, 23 minutes into the first half, on a goal by Brodie Nofziger. Ottawa Hills drew even 37 minutes into the opening half, when Sam Brochin scored for the Green Bears.
The score remained 1-1 until Brochin notched his second goal of the night on a penalty kick 29 minutes into the final half. Ottawa Hills moves on to the regional finals on Saturday.
Contact Donald Emmons at: email@example.com 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade