By MARC TOBIAS
For the third time this year Celina played one of the top three
Western Buckeye League teams tough, but for the third time it
failed to come away with the win.
The Bulldogs did manage a 2-2 tie against Defiance though, which
came in ranked No. 10 in Division II and undefeated in the WBL.
The start of the game looked as if it was going to be dominated
by the blue and white Bulldogs, as Defiance controlled the first
40 minutes of play.
That hard work paid off for Defiance in the 27th minute, when
Johnathon Niese played a low hard ball into the Bulldogs penalty
area, where an onrunning Dylan Mertz slid early enough that
he could touch the ball past Celina’s keeper for a 1-0
Defiance had plenty of chances in the first half, as it outshot
Celina 14-1. Defiance also had seven corner kicks to just one
Celina didn’t get its first shot attempt until the 38th
minute of the first half, although they had a couple of dangerous
crosses into Defiance’s penalty area.
“We told the guys at halftime I thought that was one of
the worst first halves we’ve played, as far as our intensity
it was terrible,” said Celina coach Bruce Strine. “I
told them we were fortunate that it was only 1-0, we didn’t
put any effort into the first half.”
In the second half Celina appeared to be more of the aggressor,
and it paid off in offensive scoring chances.
Celina also made a few halftime adjustments, so it could get
more players into the attack.
“We went to a three-man front which gave us more offensive
striking power,” Strine said.
That move paid off in the 63rd minute when Brian Dorsten came
up with a big goal.
Kyle Grunden crossed the ball into the middle of the 18-yard
box from the right side of the field to Mike Siebert. Siebert
was able to get his head on it and direct the ball to Dorsten
who finished with a shot that buried into the left side of the
Defiance net for a 1-1 tie.
Seven minutes later it was Dorsten again with a great chance.
Dorsten was able to steal a ball from the Defiance defense,
and then attack the goal with his dribble.
Dorsten then unleashed a shot that went just over the top of
the DHS goal.
“He did a nice job, he’s a freshman and he’s
learning, he had a pretty good half,” Strine said. “He
had a much better second half and scored our first goal to get
some momentum going.”
Celina’s momentum was momentarily halted in the 73rd minute,
when Defiance used a quick restart on a throw-in. After Celina
kicked the ball over the sideline on their half of the field,
Defiance’s Bryan Flory quickly fired a throw down the
left side to Niese.
Niese let the ball bounce one time before ripping a ball from
30 yards out and past Celina keeper Nick Uhlenhake.
“It was a heck of a shot from outside, I don’t know
how he got it near bar, but it was a heck of a shot,”
Defiance’s 2-1 lead was short lived, as Celina answered
two minutes later.
Grunden was able to keep a ball alive inside the Defiance penalty
area, and when it rolled to Alex McKirnan he knew exactly what
to do with it. The senior forward buried the ball in the left
side netting for the eventual 2-2 tie.
“Definitely that side of the field usually gives us bad
luck, and last time we were in the same scenario and the same
thing happened, as we came to a tie,” said Defiance coach
Carlos Lopez. “I give all the credit to Celina, they never
gave up and we tried to come back on them, but a few bad breaks
here and there and that was the end of the game.”
In the second half Defiance hurt itself with a couple of near
Niese had a ball crossed to him that cleared Celina keeper’s
Mark Hopf’s outstretched hands, but Niese headed it wide
of the goal.
Matt Koester also had a dangerous pass that slid in front of
the Celina goal mouth to Kevin Wajert, but Wajert didn’t
get a solid boot on the ball and the Defiance threat vanished.
Celina outshot Defiance 8-5 in the second half, and it also
turned the table on corner kicks where it led 3-2.
Celina’s record moves to 4-6-3 (3-3-1 WBL) while Defiance
falls to 11-1-2 (5-0-2 WBL).
Celina is back in action Thursday at Wapakoneta.