Friday, October 11th, 2013
St. Marys blows out Van Wert for first WBL crown
By Robb Hemmelgarn
St. Marys' boys soccer team celebrates after the Roughriders defeated Van Wert 8. . .
ST. MARYS - If you heard deafening cheers and other celebratory commotion on the west end of St. Marys at around 9 p.m. on Thursday night, it was for good reason.
Following their 8-0 drubbing of the Van Wert Cougars, the Roughriders' boys soccer team and head coach Dave Ring secured the program's first Western Buckeye League title on the soccer field.
"This was our first goal at the beginning of the season," proclaimed Ring just a few seconds before he was doused with a bucket brigade of ice water. "We knew our schedule at the start of the season was going to be very difficult against several teams that have beaten us in the past. We played tough all season though, and I could not be prouder of this group of kids with what we accomplished tonight."
St. Marys senior Micah Johns proudly echoed Ring's comments.
"This is absolutely the best feeling in the world right now. It seems like this is something we have been working for forever. We have been so close other years and to get over that hump is an incredible feeling," said Johns. "Now we set the bar for the younger kids we have coming up to accomplish the same thing."
The Roughriders scored early and often against the Cougars, beginning with junior Zac Nelson punching in his teams' first goal less than nine minutes into the game. At the 24:04 mark of the first half, freshman Zach Lemmerman joined in on the excitement with his first of three goals on the evening. Nelson connected with another score midway through the first half, while sophomore Nathan Wilker pushed his team in front 4-0 with 13:06 remaining before halftime.
"We wanted to come out and score early and leave no doubt about what we wanted to achieve tonight," said Ring. "We respect Van Wert. It wasn't that long ago when we were in their shoes, but we definitely wanted to make tonight our night, especially for an outstanding group of seniors."
Just as in the first half, the Roughriders dominated the other end of the field in the second half and reignited their scoring barrage with two more scores from Lemmerman. The home team extended their lead to 7-0 when Van Wert inadvertently knocked one into the goal and closed things out in the final 10 seconds when senior Detrique Mines celebrated his senior night with the final score of the game.
"I am really excited to be able to say I was on the first St. Marys team to win the league soccer title," said Mines. "Shawnee prevented us from winning it last year and we opened the league season with them this season and beat them. That made us believe we could accomplish what we did tonight."
As the team knelt in front of Ring before chiming the victory bell and raising the WBL plaque, he addressed his squad one final time.
"We may win more titles here on the soccer field in years to come but no one except for the players on this team can ever say they were the first to do it. What an outstanding accomplishment."
The Roughriders improved to 11-1-3 overall and capped off their season in WBL play with a record of 7-0-2. They are back in action at home Saturday in the regular-season finale against Greenville at noon.