FAIRBORN — While the result of Wednesday’s Oct. 11 girls high school soccer game between league rivals Xenia and Fairborn was a 1-all tie, it was as good as a loss for the host Skyhawks.
The tie — combined with a potential Xenia win Thursday Oct. 12 over last-place West Carrollton — almost assures the Buccaneers of clinching the Greater Western Ohio Conference, American South divisional title.
Xenia entered the match with a 5-3-0 division record, with Fairborn right behind them in the GWOC South standings at 5-4-0. Playing its final regular season game, Fairborn needed a win to clinch the title.
Fairborn players were scattered across the Fairborn Soccer Stadium pitch as the underclassmen tried to console their seniors, who wanted very badly to play their final home match with a division winning win.
“It’s a loss in a couple ways for us,” said Fairborn coach Keith Rentz. “Our seniors wanted to win on Senior Night, that’s one reason. But we knew that with a win we could secure the GWOC South title. So it’s a loss there as well.
“Coming out with a tie against Xenia is a quality result. They’re a very good team, but the girls obviously wanted more.”
Fairborn scored first with 15:26 left to play in the first half. That’s when the Skyhawks’ Lauren Thomas drove into the right side of the Xenia field, dished off a pass to fellow senior Amanda Floyd, who then knocked a shot barely over the Xenia goal line for the score.
Roughly four minutes into the second half, Xenia made the most of its first corner kick opportunity of the match.
Senior Marissa Babb launched the corner kick from the right corner, then Bucs junior midfielder Caiden Butler knocked a strong headshot from the left side of the goal into the right netting to even the match with 36:25 left in the contest.
Xenia coach Harold DeLotelle said the scoring play was something the team had been working on.
“Fairborn often had eight players back in defense, and that made it hard for us to score,” DeLotelle said. “But we’d been working on scoring from the corner kicks, and the play worked tonight for us. All the girls played well. If we win tomorrow (at West Carrollton), that would put us in first place in the GWOC South.
“They’ve greatly improved since I’ve first started working with them, so I’m very proud of this win.”
In a sporting gesture by both teams, Xenia and Fairborn both played injured seniors for the opening possession of the match. To a roar of applause from the fans, Fairborn’s injured Taryn Foster kicked the ball to start the match, while injured Bucs Adriana Winston and Amara Shepherd were back on defense. The choreographed play ended with Fairborn intentionally kicking the ball out of bounds.
The three seniors hugged each other at midfield in their final moments on the high school soccer field.
Fairborn’s regular season schedule is complete. They now will gear up for their Division I sectional first-round match when they’ll host Piqua at 7 p.m. on Monday Oct. 16. Xenia still has its regular season matchup at West Carrollton, set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12. The Bucs will then begin postseason play a 7 p.m. match Thursday, Oct. 19 on the road at Miamisburg’s Spitzer Stadium.