Carroll extends postseason boys soccer success

Carroll didn’t win a boys state soccer championship last fall, but the Patriots did the next best thing, beating Alter when it counted most.

Cameron Najarian converted a nifty pass from Dave Austria as the youthful Patriots stunned the favored Knights 1-0 in a Division II regional semifinal at before a packed crowd at Centerville’s Alumni Stadium.

“I’m going to be honest,” said Najarian afterward, “I don’t even remember what happened.”

Carroll (18-5-0) lost 1-0 in overtime to Columbus St. Francis DeSales at Wright State University in the state semifinals. Led by Najarian (nine goals, two assists), senior Dylan Tilt, junior Jace Greer and junior goal tender Ben Wourms, who had four playoff shutouts, Carroll has the returning team to contend for top honors again.

That’s the norm for the Patriots’ program. Coach Scott Molfenter’s team captured four D-II state titles from 2008-12, including three straight.

The boys and girls high school soccer regular seasons begin Aug. 20.

Alter (16-3-1) beat Carroll 2-0 in the regular season, which earned the Knights a coveted Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North Division outright title. But Carroll won the postseason rematch.

“I’m sick and tired of losing to Carroll over the last 10 years, but that’s part of life,” growled veteran Alter coach Bob Ellis after the setback.

Alter senior forward Parker Simms totaled 17 goals and three assists for the Knights last season. That was good enough to land him on first team All-Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association.

• Bellbrook (15-4-0) extended its Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division dominance (12-0). The Golden Eagles of coach Kevin Terrell have the nucleus to make another strong postseason run, led by senior defender Shane Niemeier, a first team All-OSSCA pick last season.

• Two other returning players of note are Tippecanoe senior midfielder Mitch Colvin, a second team All-OSSCA selection and Fenwick senior forward Johnathan Creeh (12 goals, five assists).

Division I: Beavercreek lost two games last season. The first, 1-0 to Centerville, resulted in the Beavers sharing the Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division title with Centerville and Fairmont, all at 4-1. The second, a heartbreaking 2-1, double-overtime decision to Moeller, knocked the Beavers out of the postseason in a regional final at Monroe.

That still extended an impressive playoff run for coach John Guilliano’s Beavers (15-2-4), who advanced to the D-I state final four in 2014 and four times since ’08.

• Dave Kozlowski is the new Fairmont coach. He was a Firebirds assistant since 2013 and prior to that was a Wayne boys assistant for 20-plus seasons. Fairmont (11-6-2) beat Alter 1-0 in the second game last season.

Fairmont ended a six-year drought of no boys GWOC Central Division championships in anything but bowling by tying for that soccer title.

• Vandalia-Butler senior midfielder Zach Bergmeier was first team All-OSSCA as a junior. He had 14 goals and 13 assists (41 points) for the Aviators. Like Beavercreek, Butler (16-2-0) also lost just two games. Butler’s 14-game win streak was snapped by Centerville in a second-round playoff game, 2-0.

• Joining Bergmeier on the All-OSSCA first team was Centerville senior forward Jarrod Ferstl. He ranked four in GWOC scoring with 22 goals and three assists (47 points).

• Springboro senior Charlie Kuhbander continues to pull double-duty. He tallied 21 goals and seven assists (49 points) for the Panthers and will be a rare four-year starter. But his future is in football as a place kicker. He verbally committed to Northwestern University’s football program last spring.

• Piqua sophomore forward Cade Lyman (13 goals, six assists) had an impressive freshman debut.

Division III: Senior-dominated Greeneview (16-2-1) extended an outstanding season to the regional semifinals, where the Rams lost 6-0 to Cincinnati Summit Country Day, which won the D-III state title.

• Dayton Christian senior forward Jake Erlandson was first team All-OSSCA. Bethel junior midfielder Korry Hamlin, Yellow Springs senior forward Joe Plumer and Franklin Monroe senior forward Jake Shellabarger were second team All-OSSCA.

Other top returning area scorers are Newton senior striker Nick Honeycutt (32 goals, seven assists, 71 points) and Miami East sophomore Connor Wilson (14 goals, 16 assists).