RIVERSIDE — After having its original season-opening game cancelled due to COVID, Bellbrook wanted a tough game as a replacement.
Carroll lost six Greater Western Ohio Conference opponents and a game against Covington (Kentucky) Catholic because of the coronavirus pandemic, so the Patriots needed an early test as well.
In a game with a playoff feel, a penalty kick by senior Conner Bailey with 1:59 left gave Carroll a 2-1 win over the visiting Golden Eagles Saturday.
“It’s definitely a good win,” Carroll coach Scott Molfenter said. “Both teams are quality teams. Very impressed with Bellbrook. They came out with a good game plan.”
After six months with basically no competitive soccer, Bellbrook coach Michael Crane was happy with how his team looked, especially against a team he called regional semi-caliber.
“It’s pretty exciting for us to say this is where we are,” Crane said. “A lot of positives.”
The Patriots, who were 17-1-2 overall last year and a Division-I district runner up, scored first when senior Conner Osterholt finished a pass from brother Brandon Osterholt, also a senior, off the far post and by senior keeper AJ Kleinwacher with 29:28 left in the first half.
“A bit unfortunate,” Crane said. “He’s a good player. We put as much pressure on him as we could. Our center back couldn’t get tight enough to close that window.”
Bellbrook — which returns six starters from last season — tied it with a penalty kick with 5:30 left in the game after a player was taken down in the box. Junior Trace Terry nailed the kick to tie it.
Just when it appeared the game would end in a tie, a Carroll player was taken down in the box and Bailey’s boot seemingly saved the night for the Patriots.
“I wasn’t crazy about either one,” Molfenter said of the PKs. “It’s part of the game.”
Carroll, which has about a half-dozen starters back, visits Lakota West tonight. Molfenter is hoping to see some improvement.
“We definitely weren’t as sharp as we wanted to be,” he said. “(But) I’m not going to take anything away from (Bellbrook).”
Bellbrook — which was 13-6 overall last season, losing to Wyoming 2-1 in a D-II district final — is scheduled to visit Franklin Thursday.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.