By Mark Ruschau
It was a bittersweet Monday for Celina Bulldogs boy's soccer coach Bruce Strine and his charges after his team settled for a 1-1 tie with the Kenton Wildcats in Western Buckeye League play at the East Elementary soccer field.
The game was called after the first half was played and a nearly a two-hour lightning delay.
The bitter for the Bulldogs was that they outplayed the Wildcats only to settle for the tie after giving up an early goal and not being able to convert on several scoring chances.
The sweet part for Strine's boys is that they stay undefeated in league play at 3-0-1 and stand at 6-2-1 overall while Kenton is now 2-5-1 overall and 0-2-1 in the WBL.
"I'm very disappointed, that's an understatement, that we weren't able to play the second half," said Strine. "We had controlled the game in the first half and the way we were playing, I sure would of liked to play that second half." The Bulldogs' control of the first half can be seen in that they outshot Kenton 7-2, including 7-0 after the first two minutes, but yet they were only able to score one goal.
"We talked about that before the game, that we haven't been finishing and we're going to continue to work on that the rest of the week," said Strine. "We gave ourselves a chance tonight but we are just not finishing.
"Teams go through scoring funks and we are in one of those scoring funks right now," continued Strine. "Something has to shake us out of that funk and I really believe that if we would of been able to play the second half, that we would of broken out of the scoring funk and put some balls in the back of the net. We're going to work on finishing because we cannot settle for the way we are playing offensively, it's just unacceptable."
Kenton got on the scoreboard quickly as it scored in the first 40 seconds with David Crowe taking a great lead pass from Brandon Hogue, who fired a shot off the left post but Crowe had presence of mind to fire the rebound past Celina keeper Matt Leugers.
Kenton had a golden chance at a second goal approximately 90 seconds later when Brandon Kindells shot hit the cross bar. After that, Kenton couldn't mount any more offense before the game was halted.
"We have played some tough teams and the last three games have been 1-0 and we are thankful for our defense," said Strine. "Our offense has to step up however. You aren't going to get many goals when you have two good teams, but we expected to win a game tonight and we just would of liked to have played the second half."
In a span of five minutes during the first half, Celina had three golden chances to score as Brian Dorsten, Chris Post and Adam Hoyng all missed from inside of 15 yards.
With eight minutes left in the first half, the Bulldogs had a another great scoring chance as Matt Stetler's direct kick from just outside the box was tipped over the top of the net.
Celina finally got on the board in the 38th minute of the half, as Stetler took a shot that was tipped over the top of the net resulting in a corner kick. Off the corner, a shot by Celina's Eric Braun was touched by Hogue in the box resulting in penalty kick for the Bulldogs.
Brian Dorsten took the penalty and converted it as he beat Kenton goalie Doug Johnson in the lower-left corner to tie the game at 1-1.