4-1 upset sends Comets to semis
Jeff Wallner reports:
After three consecutive losses to Centerville by a combined five goals, it was evident throughout Thursday night’s Division I district soccer championship that Mason was tired of losing to the Elks.
“We talked about playing with a chip on our shoulder, and playing a complete 80 minutes,” said Comets coach Paul Reedy. Mason did both.
Senior forward Noah Zelkind and junior forward Jack Clark each scored two goals as Mason, No. 1 in the Enquirer Division I coaches’ poll and 10th in the state, stunned Centerville, the state’s fifth-ranked team, 4-1, to earn a district title on the turf at Lakota East.
Mason advances to face the St. Xavier/Beavercreek winner in the regional semis Wednesday.
“We were really focused tonight,” said Clark. “I’ve never beaten Centerville. Most us never have.”
Thursday’s match was a physical one, with five injury stoppages. Zelkind left the game in the second half for treatment after a collision.
But led by Zelkind, Mason took control early.
The Comets’ first goal resulted from a fortuitous bounce. Michael Marino’s shot caromed off the upper left corner of the goal, but Zelkind booted the rebound past Elks keeper Brandon Isaacs.
Less than six minutes later, Zelkind scored again, this time off an assist from Clark to make the score 2-0 with 21:51 in the first half.
Moments later, Harry Taylor made a bid to put Mason ahead by three goals but Isaacs made a lunging save.
Mason’s third goal came with 32:32 left when Clark scored off an assist from Chris Roman. Clark’s second goal came less than five minutes later.
“That was big for us, scoring two goals after halftime,” Clark said. “We didn’t want to give up any early goals. We knew they weren’t going to quit.”
Centerville finally got on the board when Sam Hofmann scored to make it 4-1 with 26:13 left. The Elks never got closer.
With 3:51 remaining and the match in hand, Reedy did something he never expected: removed his starters.
“You never expect a 4-1 win in a district final against a state-ranked team,” he said.