By Ryan Kaczmarski
The upstart Farview High School boys soccer team ran the gauntlet through the Division II Rocky River district bracket, not ever giving up a goal. Then came the top-seeded Bay Rockets to ruin the Warriors’ ride in the district finals.
Bay has a similar story, but its story is still being written. After shutting out Benedictine and Rocky River, the Rockets blanked Fairview 2-0 to take the district championship Saturday night.
“Typically you start off the season with goals in mind,” Bay head coach Bobby Dougherty said. “You always want to be playing your best soccer at the end of the year.
“Did we improve? Did we get better?” he asked. “We’re a lot better than when we started. In this game tonight, Fairview – it’s been a while since they been in the district final – came out and played really well. We still really struggled in trying to get a hold of the ball tonight.
“This might’ve been our worst performance in three or four games. We just didn’t get a hold of it. It’s combination of the wind and the rain. It just wasn’t clicking tonight. But we managed to get through it. It’s the playoffs and you have to win games when you’re not playing your best. We’re lucky enough to play another day.”
Bay struck quickly, with Dan Linhart scoring the first goal just three minutes into the game. The second goal came off the foot of Bay’s Brady Kinsey with less than 12 minutes left in the game, to make the final 2-0.
“We haven’t won (districts) in three years, and three years ago our best team – who was ranked No.1 in the state – won the district title, and it’s huge for us to win it again,” Bay senior Ben Tepper said.
After two games, at the start of the regular season, that Dougherty would rather forget, the Rockets started building momentum that could take them all the way to the state championship game.
“We started off the season with two losses right off the bat…you got to regroup,” Dougherty said. “We brought the (team) together and said, ‘Look, we’re going to work on possession for three to six weeks,’ and that’s all we did. The end result came off really well.”
For Fairview, the end result was just simple arithmetic.
“They scored two goals, and we didn’t,” Fairview head coach Dave Snow said. “(We have) absolutely no regrets. Our boys played their hearts out, and we knew it was going to be a tight match. We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities, and they did.
“(Our team) is a great group of kids,” Snow added. “They worked their butts off and we’re extremely proud of them. It’s been a hell of a season.”
Bay is scheduled to play against Port Clinton High School tonight for the regional semifinals.
“We went out and watched Port Clinton play already, so we know that’s our competition,” Dougherty said. “Our goal is to figure them out, obviously, and we’ll go from there, but the honest truth is we know if we play our best game people are going to have to worry about us.”
The game will be played tonight at Perkins High School at 7 p.m.