By Chris Chaney
The Clermont County boys’ soccer season has come to an end for all but one team as nine of the 10 local teams fell in sectional tournament action before reaching a sectional final.
The lone exception, the Milford Eagles, played in a sectional final on Tuesday night, Oct. 22 against top-seeded Mason in a game that’s final score was not available at deadline.
The Eagles, who finished the regular season with an 11-5 record and in a second-place tie in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, won two matches to reach the Division I sectional final.
The opening round defeat of No. 22 seed Colerain was a record-breaking affair. The 7-1 route of the Cardinals marked the 100th victory for head coach Brian Croston, making him the winningest coach in MHS history.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my eight years to have some amazing talent that has come through here,” Croston said in a press release.
The Eagles took care of business in the second round as well, ending Hamilton’s season with a 4-2 victory, propelling Milford to a rematch with the No. 1 team in the state, Mason. Milford lost to the Comets 2-0 on Sept. 21.
Using their first-round win over Colerain as an opportunity to prepare for Mason, Coach Croston tried out a new scheme to see how the Eagles could better deal with the potent Comets’ offense.
“We tried a different formation because we are planning ahead and hoping we can get to that third round against Mason,” Croston said. “We are trying something a little new that will give us something to try and neutralize (Mason’s) attack out of the back and give us a little more offense. It works well.”
Milford’s ECC counterparts, Glen Este won their opening-round match in rousing fashion, 3-2 over Anderson in overtime, but fell to a stout Lakota West squad in the sectional semifinals. The Trojans finished on a mark of 11-6-1.
Elsewhere in Division I, the Southern Buckeye Conference American Division runners-up, Amelia, saw their season end abruptly at the hands of Kings. The Barons ended up with an 8-5-4 record.
In Division II, both champions of the SBC’s divisions bowed out in the sectional semifinals.
Batavia, the winners of the National Division, defeated interdivision foe Norwood in exciting fashion, getting a golden goal from Kyle Schmitgen three minutes into the overtime period.
In the second round, the Bulldogs faced off with McNicholas, a familiar foe and a rival.
“Actually, both matches (against McNicholas) were near identical,” Batavia head coach Kevin Scheel said. “If you look at the scores, you wouldn’t see that, but we had some injuries the second time around. If you watch the tape, both matches were defensive battles.
“And after they got up early, I had to make some adjustments because it was win or go home. As we moved to be more offensive, they were able to counter and expose us to advance the score.”
The Bulldogs fell by a final score of 5-0 and ended the season with a 12-5-1 record.
New Richmond, winners of the SBC American, were knocked out by the third-place team in their division, Western Brown, in the second round. The Lions took a 1-0 lead early in the match, but the Broncos rallied to win 2-1 and advance to the sectional final against Indian Hill on Oct. 22.
The same Indian Hill team that the Broncos faced on Tuesday knocked out Goshen, 5-0, in the second round of the sectional.
In Division III, all three Clermont County schools in the sectional were one-and-done. The potent Bethel-Tate offense netted a pair of goals, but fell one short of Madeira. The Mustangs would go on to end Felicity-Franklin’s season in the next round, taking down the Cardinals 7-0.
Finally, Clermont Northeastern had their season end at the hands of Clark Montessori, 9-0 on Oct. 19.
For full brackets, game times, locations and directions to the fields, log on to the Southwest District Athletic Board’s website at swdab.org.