SPRINGFIELD — A chillier evening slowed down Yellow Springs briefly on Tuesday until players found the flow and got their blood pumping.
Breaking open a tie game, Yellow Springs scored twice in the final 10 minutes of the first half to help propel the Bulldogs to a 4-1 win over Greeneview at Springfield High School.
“I have to admit, I was more nervous about playing Greeneview than any other opponent that we could potentially face,” Yellow Springs head coach Ben VanAusdal said. “Greeneview always plays really well against us. Our boys did a really good job.”
The Bulldogs remain undefeated in 17 matches played this season.
Yellow Springs will play in the District Finals for the second straight season, and after falling to Mariemont in 2020 they will get a shot at a rematch on Saturday at an undetermined neutral site. It’s the Bulldogs fourth final appearance in the last six seasons.
“I was hoping the boys would come out a little faster today but then again we were playing Greeneview which is one of our big rivals,” VanAusdal said. “We had played in the regular season and being the No. 1-seed everyone wants to beat us too.”
Eli Eyrich scored his 38th goal of the season to give Yellow Springs the 1-0 lead and minutes later Dylon Mapes netted a shot off of a scramble in front of the net. Mapes goal was his 19th.
Greeneview goalkeeper Clayton Moore made several great saves to keep the Rams close, but couldn’t stop everything.
Greeneview would score with 17:30 left on a goal by Andrew Hurley to inch the Rams closer at 3-1.
With just over 12 minutes left, Eyrich scored once again to put the match on ice during the cold night and secure a hat trick.
Greeneview and its five seniors end the season 11-7-0 after a runner-up finish in the OHC.
“I hate for it to end like this for them but that’s the way it goes for everybody except for one team,” Greeneview head coach TJ Milby said. “Really thankful for our seniors, but we have a great core of young guys too that we’re excited to see how they continue to grow and develop.”
It was the second time the two teams met this season, with Yellow Springs also winning the earlier game 4-1 on Sept. 4.
“It was a different game, their level is up,” Van Ausdal said of the Rams. “They came to play and I talked to my boys about when you play a team twice it is much harder. … We had to earn our goals today and I applaud Greeneview and their team because they have a good young group.”
Yellow Springs was ranked No. 8 in the final OSSCA state boys soccer poll of the season for Division III and No. 1 in the MVSSCA localized rankings. VanAusdal said the team set goals to win the Metro Buckeye Conference, then not lose in the regular season, to making it past the District Finals.
“To be honest, I knew we were going to have a good team, VanAusdal said. “Realistically I thought we would go 12-4 or 13-3. I didn’t expect undefeated. … When you’re winning, you just feel good and I’m proud of my boys.”