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Friday, September 21st, 2007

Bulldogs survive Wildcat comeback

By Gary R. Rasberry

Celina's Alex Dammeyer, 7, battles with Kenton's T.J. Walls for the ball during. . .

When Michael Sommers scored an unassisted goal with 38:31 left in Celina's contest with Kenton, it was meant to be a spirit-breaker.
It ended up being needed as a game-winner.
The Bulldogs led 3-0 at the half and 4-0 after Sommers' goal, only to have the Wildcats score three times and put the pressure on Celina before the Bulldogs held on to a 4-3 win at The Soccer Stadium.
Celina stays in the running in the WBL standings at 3-1-1 - 5-3-2 overall - while Kenton falls to 1-4 in the league and 2-7-2 overall.
"I'm happy for the win, it helps us keep our goal for WBL," said Celina coach Bruce Strine. "Kenton is a good team and lost some close games.
"But it's inexcusable in the back (defense), actually the whole team. We walked when it was 4-0. At one point in the second half, we stood and we watched. It's frustrating from a coach's standpoint to see that. They got the momentum going."
The first half showed Celina to be firmly in control. Sommers opened the game with a goal at the 31:32 mark off a header from Alex Dammeyer to draw first blood. Five minutes later, Andrew Menchhofer moved the ball in and scored an unassisted goal at 26:17 to make it 2-0. Then with 47 seconds left in the half, Menchhofer scored his second goal of the night to make it 3-0 at halftime.
After Sommers' second goal to start the second half, it seemed like Celina let up a little, as if expecting Kenton to mail in the rest of the match.  
What happened was the Wildcats got hot. Less than a minute after Sommers' goal, Brandon Houge got free and put the ball over Jordan Bertke's head to end the shutout at 37:37. Exactly seven minutes later, Wes Goldsmith got free and scored to cut it to 4-2.
For the five 25 minutes, the teams battled between the boxes, with a number of fouls called between the teams.
With just under 5:45 left, Celina was called for a foul and Kenton got an indirect kick in the Celina zone. The first kick rolled a couple of inches before another Kenton player kicked the ball wide, but the official ruled a Celina player moved before the kick, which earned the player a yellow card and Kenton an re-kick. This time, the first Kenton kicker stepped on the ball and rolled it, then Aaron Johnson kicked it past Bertke with 5:35 left to cut it to one.
"You saw the rest of the story," said Strine. "Man, it was close.
"These are high school guys and when you're up 4-0, there tends to be this overconfidence. You think don't think you have to win the ball because you have this cushion. That's what they did. (Kenton) beat us to every ball. Every 50-50 ball in the second half, they just outhustled us."
Kenton worked hard to keep Celina moving and try and get the equalizer, but Celina hung on as Kenton even tried to fake an injury to stop the clock, resulting in Goldsmith getting carded for the stunt.
"I hope this is a lesson we can learn as a team," said Strine. "It's don't matter. You play 80 minutes or just hand the game to the other team, because they're not going to quit."
In the junior varsity match, Celina won 4-0. Cary Miller had a hat trick with Fred Ward adding the other goal.
Celina retuns to action on Tuesday, hosting Elida in another key league match.
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