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April 25, 2019

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Boys' soccer: Not this time

Pirates district runners-up

By Sam Brauen www.blufftonpirates.com
In 2017, Bluffton defeated Kalida in a shootout to advance to the OHSAA Regional tournament.

In 2018, the same two teams again went to penalty kicks but the Wildcats prevailed, putting an end to another great boys soccer campaign for Bluffton. 

The squads squared off Saturday afternoon on Kalida's home field, deemed neutral by the OHSAA.  With temperatures in the 40s, a non-ceasing rain and a bit of wind the play was ragged at times. 

The teams pushed to a 0-0 draw at halftime although Bluffton had more chances to take the lead.  Isaiah Schwab put Bluffton in front with just 14 minutes remaining in the pressure packed game.  The senior bent in a corner kick that found side netting. 

The advantage stood until just four minutes remained when the Pirates were whistled for a hand ball.  Kalida's Connor Kuhlman buried the penalty kick to force overtime. 

Both squads were scoreless in the 30 extra minutes, pushing the game into the penalties round.  Each team sent five shooters to the spot, alternating teams.  Luke Young's shot was stopped by the Kalida keeper to open the round.  The Wildcats forged ahead 1-0 as they connected on their first shot. 

Simon Derstine was up next for BHS and he buried his shot however Kalida answered and maintained a 2-1 lead after two shooters.  Matt Daws found the net as the third Pirate shooter and Kalida's next shot caromed off the post and the score was tied 2-2. 

Jonathan Schriner missed over the crossbar on the Pierates' fourth attempt and Kalida capitalized, surging ahead 4-3.  Jesse Montel pulled the Pirates even on their final shot however Kalida was able to make their final shot to advance. 

Pirate seniors playing their final match were Andrew Bertka, Luke Young, Dakota Clymer, Jesse Montel, Jackson Steinmetz and Isaiah Schwab. 

The group played an important role in some of the best years of Bluffton boys' soccer history.  The team made two Regional appearances in their four years and played in the District Final game all four years.