St. Xavier Advances To District Final With Close Win


Posted on 10/27/2020 at 6:06 p.m.

Elder Has Four-Match Winning Streak Snapped By Loveland in 2 OT
Junior Brady Manahan and senior Lawrence White each scored goals to help St. Xavier post a 2-1 victory against Walnut Hills in the district semifinals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Boys’ Division Soccer State Tournament on Monday night at Princeton High School’s Viking Stadium.   The Bombers advance to the district final for the fourth consecutive year, when they will meet Oak Hills at 7 p.m. Thursday at Princeton.  Oak Hills advanced with a 2-1 win against Anderson in its district final last night at Lakota East.
Elder, the second Greater Catholic League South Division team looking for a berth in the district final, narrowly missed moving to its district final – falling 3-2 in double overtime to Loveland at Sycamore Stadium, located at Sycamore Junior High School.  The defeat ended a four-match winning streak for Elder, which also made a solid postseason run last season before falling to DI state semifinalist Lakota East, 4-2, in the district final.
St. Xavier (13-2-2), the No. 2 seed behind Mason in the Southwest District and winner of three straight district titles,  took a 1-0 lead when Manahan scored on a corner kick with seven minutes left in the first half.  Neither team scored again until junior midfielder Patrick Ahrens long throw in found White at the post, who scored to give the Bombers a 2-0 advantage with 20 minutes remaining in the match.  Walnut Hills (9-2) scored its lone goal just about a minute later, but the Eagles would get no closer thanks to senior keep Briggs O’Toole and the St. Xavier defense.
St. Xavier, which has not lost in its last five matches (the lone blemish a 0-0 draw against Moeller), has been a model of consistency in the state playoffs since 2017 – when, including this year’s 2-0 record in the postseason, the Bombers are 11-3 in tournament play.  St. Xavier has won at least three postseason matches four consecutive seasons and five of the last six.
The Bombers, too, have been a difficult out, too – evidenced by the last three seasons in the regional semifinals.  A year ago, St. Xavier fell to Moeller, 3-2, in overtime in the district final; in 2018, Turpin edged St. Xavier, 2-1, and a year earlier, the Bombers fell to Anderson, 2-1, in OT. Oak Hills (10-4-4), which finished third in the Greater Miami Conference during the regular season, has won both of its tournament matches by one goal – edging Kings, 1-0, in its opener and then getting past Anderson to set up a match with St. Xavier.  The two schools have not played in soccer since September 16, 2004, a 1-1 draw during the regular season at Oak Hills.

Loveland took an early 1-0 lead when junior midfielder Zach McHenry scored in the first 13 minutes, which is where the score remained until Tigers’ senior midfielder Ethan Smith scored with 17:48 left in regulation.

Elder )4-9-3) rallied back first on a goal by senior midfielder Andrew Mueller – who scored his league-leading eighth this season, with 9:56 remaining, and then senior forward Stephen Bankemper tied the match with just 2:19 to go.

Finally, in the second OT, Loveland senior defender  Helge Harris scored goal No. 16 on the season.  Loveland is the second Eastern Cincinnati Conference team to knock GCL South schools out of the postseason, with Milford eliminating both La Salle and Moeller earlier by single goals in each

Loveland (13-2-3) meets Centerville in Thursday’s district final.