Prep boys soccer: Warren wins 3rd straight district

LUCASVILLE – Warren has advanced to the Sweet 16 in Ohio Division II boys’ soccer for the third consecutive year.

Senior Alex Miller’s golden goal header early in first overtime period enabled the Andrew Johnson-coached Warriors to defeat the Todd Morris-led Marietta Tigers 1-0 in a district championship match at Lucasville Valley High on Saturday.

“Saturday’s match was a good even game,” Johnson said. “Anytime that Marietta and Warren play, it will be a one-goal game.

“They are well-coached and a strong team. I am happy that both teams made it that far.”

Said Marietta head coach Todd Morris, “Warren did what they needed to do to win yesterday, and we wish them all the best as they continue their post season run.

“As for the game itself, we were a bit unlucky. I felt we controlled the majority of the possession during the run of play, we just could not capitalize when we got into their defensive third of the field. I’m very proud of the effort we had against Warren.

“I thought defensively we did a great job – Andrew, Tanner, Brent and Brennan played great games against Warren. In the end, Alex Miller stepped up and made a play when he was given the opportunity.”

Miller’s score, his team-leading 39th of the season, was unassisted, and beat MHS senior keeper Eric Pierce with 11:55 remaining in the first OT.

Miller is one of two seniors on the royal blue and white roster. Defender Wyatt Lynch is the other senior Warrior.

Warren goalie Tyler Schwendeman was credited with a clean sheet against MHS.

Marietta was without the services of Max Suckel, the team’s leading scorer (23 goals).

According to Morris, Suckel was “was unavailable to play.”

Warren, 16-2-2 overall, is now scheduled to play the Chad Smith-coached Columbus Bishop Watterson (15-4-0) Eagles – also a 1-0 extra session winner over Columbus St. Francis DeSales (10-7-2) at Westerville North on Saturday – in a regional semifinal at Bloom-Carroll High Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Watterson’s Paul Mokrzan scored the match-winner, while keeper Trevor Funk was credited with five saves.

Last year, Warren eliminated Marietta 2-1 in overtime in a sectional semifinal in Vincent. Later, after blanking Fairfield Union and Waverly, respectively, by the identical score of 4-0 in the district tournament, the Warriors dropped a 3-0 decision to the Bexley Lions in a regional semi at Logan’s Chieftain Stadium and finished with a 14-3-4 season.

In 2011, Warren (16-2-3) bowed out to DeSales, 3-0, in a regional semi.

During regular-season play this fall, the Warriors edged the MHS Tigers 2-1 at the Devola Soccer Complex, and tied the orange and black booters 1-1 in Vincent.

Warren is 6-2-2 against Marietta in the last 10 matches in the all-time series. Overall, the Tigers lead 45-13-7.

Warren and Marietta have combined to win seven of the last eight South East District boys championships.

MHS exits the 2013 campaign with a 14-3-3 overall mark.

“It’s a tough loss because we are losing a phenomenal group of seniors,” Morris said. “Jacob Holdren, Clay Mason, Brent Huck, Ian Hazelton, Tanner Rake, Brennan Uhrig, Eric Pierce and Skylar Miracle have all contributed so much to the MHS soccer program. I am extremely proud of the growth they have had not only as soccer players, but as people.

“They have been a pleasure to work with and I am extremely fortunate to have been able to work with them. This was a great class – love them and going to miss them. This was a great team to work with – we had a great mixture of experience and youth combined with our five foreign exchange students. They will forever be a part of the MHS soccer family.”