CENTERVILLE — Xenia saw too much of Centerville’s talent too often in an 8-0 Division I sectional tournament semifinal loss at Legacy Field.
The host Elks (13-3-1) scored their first goal off the team’s first corner kick try barely six minutes into the contest, then kept the offensive pressure coming in the first half. Centerville had six corner kick tries in the first half, and scored on two of them.
Senior midfielder Chloe Spitler and sophomore midfielder Izzy Laidly both scored twice, co-captain Cara Compton, sophomore Jenna Hallbeck, and Emma Stanley each scored a goal for Centerville, all in the first half.
Senior midfielder Nicole Gardner broke up an Elks passing clinic with the lone goal of the second half.
Junior forward Leah Firsdon was credited with three assists for the Elks, while Hailey Jeng and Stanley contributed one each.
Xenia coach Jim Lamb knew his comparatively inexperienced No. 14 seeded Buccaneers (9-8-1) would be facing a tough challenge against the second-seeded Elks.
“It was going to be difficult,” Lamb said. “(Assistant Coach Shawn Woods) and I knew we would have to work hard and play well against them. It was going to be a tough match no matter what.”
Lamb appreciated the play of his seven seniors. Of his 21 players the rest are composed of a trio of juniors and then 18 sophomores and freshmen.
“It’s a good senior group. I got to work with them when they were freshmen, then I was gone for two years. To get to come back for their senior year was really nice,” Lamb said. “They work hard, they compete. I think the biggest thing is that they’re good kids, they’re good people. It’s not always about soccer. They’re good people, too.”
With the win, Centerville advances to the North 2 Bracket sectional final. The Elks will face either fifth-seed Troy or 12th seeded Sidney in the next round, a 7 p.m. contest on Monday, Oct. 21 at Miamisburg High School.
“We worked really hard this season at making sure our players were fit and working well together,” Centerville coach Jim Gobrail said. “… Xenia has a couple really talented strikers in (Alexis) Claybaugh and (Alayna) Vela, and I knew they were very capable of scoring. We had them marked on our scouting report right away. We were fortunate to get a solid lead early, to take them out of their game.”
Xenia’s seven seniors are: Goalkeeper Lauren Nipper; defender Elizabeth Cline; forward Claire Morotta; forward Alexis Claybaugh; defender Maliah Huston; midfielder Bethany Groeschen; and forward Alyssia Echols.
“They became leaders this year. They did a lot of the off-the-field stuff, or the stuff before training, they took care of that. We don’t have to get the players to warmup and things like that, because the seniors are already doing it,” Lamb said. “Doing new stuff this year, that not all of the players were comfortable with, they were the ones that said ‘Hey, let’s give it a go.’ So they really helped a lot.”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.