Carroll took a huge step forward from its fourth Division II boys state soccer championship in five years Wednesday night.
Zach Zwiesler scored off a free kick from 30 yards out with 4:411 left in overtime to give the Patriots a 2-1 win over Bellbrook in a D-II regional semifinal.
A crowd of 1,200 braved the 35-degree weather to watch a match played in a soft mist between two of the state’s top squads.
Carroll, ranked No.2 in the final state coaches poll, is now 16-0-4 and continued a state-record streak of 57 games without a loss over three years.
Bellbrook, tied for No. 3 in the final coaches poll, closes out at 19-1-0.
Trae Collins scored his 11th of the season seven minutes into the match to give Carroll a 1-0 lead. Bellbrook All-American Eric Lynch tied it with a free kick from 40 yards out with 11:07 to go in the first half. It was his 32nd goal of the year.
Carroll dominated play for the rest of the first and the all the second half with 30 shots on goal vs. 11 for Bellbrook.
“It was one of those matches where we had all kinds of chances and couldn’t convert,” Zwiesler said. “I knew when I got the chance to take that free kick I had to make it. I didn’t want this one to go to penalty kicks.”
After a foul gave Carroll the free kick, Zwiesler waited for the Bellbrook wall to set and then took his shot. “I wanted to get it over the wall and curve it left away from the keeper (Bellbrook’s Jacob Niemeier),” he said of his 15th goal.
“I hit it the way I wanted to. Their keeper got a hand on it, but it was curving away from him and got in. Biggest goal I’ve had in my career.”
Carroll will play Cincinnati Indian Hill in the regional final at noon Saturday at a site to be determined.
“Huge, huge win for us,” said Carroll coach Scott Molfenter. “Bellbrook is a great team and really wanted us. There was a lot of emotion on and off the field involved in this one. We had so many chances but couldn’t convert. That one felt like it might go to PKs. but Zach came through big time.”
Cincinnati McNicholas 3, Bellbrook 0: McNicholas posted its seventh straight shutout while dominating play vs. Bellbrook in a girls Division II regional semifinal before the boys game.
The Rockets are 14-3-3 and play Cincinnati Indian Hill in the D-II regional at 3 p.m. Saturday at a site to be determined.
Bellbrook, making its first appearance in regional play, closes out at 15-3-2. The Eagles unofficially had only three shots on goal, one of which came close to getting by McNick keeper Allie Thul.