By MARC TOBIAS
Celina’s boy’s squad may have played its best match
so far this season, unfortunately, they ran into an Elida team
that’s a lot better than its 3-3-2 record coming into
the game indicated.
of Elida’s losses came against the second-ranked team
in Division I in Toledo St. Francis, and its other loss was
to Bishop Waterson which is the fifth-ranked team in Division
Nonetheless, Celina gave it a valiant effort in the 3-2 loss,
and it had two quality scoring chances in the final minute to
tie the game.
With 40 seconds remaining, Celina got a free kick a few yards
past the right side of the 18-yard box and they pushed nine
players in the box for a chance to score.
Elida was able to clear the ball though and end the threat,
but the Bulldogs had one more chance when a throw-in from the
right sideline bounced into the penalty box where a hustling
Alex McKirnan was able to get a solid foot on the ball. McKirnan’s
shot went wide left and Elida left town with its Western Buckeye
League title hopes still intact.
“I was pleased with our effort tonight, if we can play
this way every night we’re going to do okay this year,”
said Celina coach Bruce Strine. “We’re getting better
and we had some nice looks at the goal at the end and that’s
all you can ask for. That’s a quality team, and I told
the guys you always like to see the score higher on your side,
but effort wise, I felt like we put the effort forward and showed
up to play.”
Elida coach Scott States said it was another game his squad
had to sweat it out until the end.
“With 10 seconds to go it felt like deja vu in the O-G
game, because they had one (throw in) and it went in the box
and they scored, fortunately, sometimes luck has to be on your
side and in that case I think it was,” States said.
Elida has already twice this year seen late leads slip away
in WBL competition. They had a two-goal lead against Ottawa-Glandorf
turn into a 2-2 tie in the closing minutes, and Kenton was able
to score a late goal for a 1-1 tie.
States dropped his midfielders back to defense in the closing
moments of the game to help ensure the victory this time.
“I told the players for that final seven (minutes) we
did a very nice job getting the ball down here (offensive end),
dumping it and holding it in the corners,” States said.
“That was the game plan when I subbed Alex Wilson at the
eight-minute mark, and I thought we did a much better job of
that than we have in the past.”
Around the same point in the game Strine made a countermove
in which he changed his formation to a 4-4-3 so he could have
an additional striker to try and get the tying score.
“I don’t care if we lose by one or five goals, we
might as well go for it,” Strine said when his team was
trailing by a goal. “It gave us a little more striking
power and took a little bit of control out of the middle, but
with them in a defensive set you might as well go for it.”
Elida controlled the majority of possession in the first 40
minutes of the game, but it was Celina who scored the games
Jeremy Johnson was able to find a loose ball inside Elida’s
penalty area off a Celina corner kick, and when he did he struck
a solid ball with his left foot for the 1-0 lead with nine minutes
It didn’t take Elida long to respond, as Tony Moore was
able to dribble two Celina defenders before dishing off to Shane
Ramsey who was camping in front of the Celina net. Ramsey tapped
home the goal and it was a 1-1 tie at the half.
Elida displayed a plethora of talent and speed all throughout
its lineup, and that skill was very apparent in its transition
In the 45th minute, Elida used a quick counter attack to score
its second goal. Elida moved the ball from its defense to offense
in a heartbeat, which allowed Brian Warner a lot of room to
dribble. When he did, it drew the Celina sweeper out, and allowed
him to pass to the side where Moore scored the first of his
“That’s part of the trademark for our team this
year, we work real quick and when we win the ball in our defensive
third, boom we’re out in three or four passes,”
States said. “We have some pretty good speed with Brian
Warner and Tony Moore up top.”
Celina battled back as it did all night, when Kyle Grunden scored
30 seconds later by drilling a shot from around 25 yards out.
Moore answered for Elida four minutes later when he was able
to spin past one Celina defender and muscle in a shot for the
Celina falls to 3-5 (2-2 WBL) while Elida improves to 4-3-2
(2-0-2 WBL). Celina is back in action Thursday at Bath.