By MARC TOBIAS
Celina was able to pick up a very important 4-2 victory over
Kenton 3-1-2 (1-1-1 WBL) in Western Buckeye League boys soccer
last night to move themselves back over the .500 mark in league
With the win, the Bulldogs 4-3 (2-1 WBL) now find themselves
in the thick of the WBL race as league leaders Defiance (2-0-1
WBL) and Shawnee (2-0-1 WBL) went to a 1-1 tie last night. Elida
(2-0-2 WBL) also remains unbeaten in the league after a 9-1
win over Bath last night, although it has a pair of ties, one
of which was against Kenton.
“We needed this win, they beat us last year up there 4-3,
and we haven’t been showing well at times this year,”
said Celina coach Bruce Strine. “I felt we sort of underachieved
and maybe we’re stepping up now. I hope this is something
that we can use to turn a corner in the WBL.”
Celina put its WBL contest away in the first half against the
Wildcats as all four Bulldogs goals came in the first 40 minutes
In the sixth minute, Brady Heyne scored on a beautiful pass
from Alex McKirnan. McKirnan slid a pass from midfield into
the 18-yard box that Heyne was able to slide past starting Wildcats
keeper Austin Heil.
Three minutes later, the Bulldogs took a two-goal lead off a
perfectly executed set piece.
Chad Strine took a Celina corner kick and put it right on the
6-yard box where an on running Jeremy Johnson headed the ball
down into the goal.
In the 14th minute, it was McKirnan’s turn to finish off
a goal. Strine played a ball from 40 yards out over the top
of the Wildcats defense, McKirnan gained possession on the right
side of the field before burying a shot in the lower right side
of the goal.
Seven minutes later, the same duo hooked up again. Strine once
again played a right to left bending ball over the Wildcats
defense, although this time it was a little closer to goal.
From around 10-yards, McKirnan flicked the ball out of the air
with his right foot and past the Kenton keeper.
“That was sweet, that was a nice chip from Chad and right
to McKirnan’s foot, a nice little touch, little deflection,”
Bruce Strine said. “That was a pretty goal, I’m
looking forward to seeing that on the video.”
McKirnan finished with two goals and an assist while Chad Strine
tallied three assists.
“We finished well for really the first time this year,”
Bruce Strine said. “We took advantages of opportunities
we had. We had nice through balls, nice touches on the ball
we we’re executing our runs and it paid off. We we’re
hungry for this and we needed it.”
Celina’s play in the first half was near flawless, as
they recorded 12 shots, 10 of which were on goal.
The Bulldogs defense, meanwhile, held Kenton to just one shot
attempt while forcing three offside calls in the first 40 minutes.
“We worked a different formation tonight, we’ve
been working a flat back and we’ve been getting beat,
so we went back to what the guys know best and the defense did
a pretty good job,” Bruce Strine said. “But we’re
running really a flat back with a sweeper (Eric Klosterman).
So that sweeper has the opportunity to step up for that offside,
and it worked for us tonight.”
Strine said it’s Klosterman’s call to play the offside
trap or to stay back.
“When you go out and play the first half like your a walking
zombie things aren’t going to go your way,” said
Kenton coach Jamie Bartlett. “We got them in at halftime,
had a little heart to heart with them and obviously the second
half they responded very well and I thought we controlled the
game, we put in two goals. It’s just a four goal lead
is a lot to come back from.”
Kenton’s first goal came in the 65th minute when Chris
Bash played a ball through the Celina midfield to Jarrett Hottman.
Hottman used his speed to dribble inside the Celina goal area
where he ripped a shot into the net.
The Wildcats scored a second goal with six minutes to play off
a penalty kick.
Celina is back in action when they host Bluffton on Saturday.
The Celina girls varsity will host Bluffton at 10 a.m., with
the jayvee boys playing at approximately 1 p.m. The boys varsity
is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.