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May 25, 2020

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Pirates win a thriller in 2 OTs

Kaden Basil tied the game for BHS and Jude Spallinger scored the winning goal

By Cort Reynolds - Photos by Marvin Foster
SANDUSKY - The Bluffton boys soccer team outlasted Fairview Park 2-1 in a double overtime epic marathon in Div. III regional semifinal play at Sandusky Perkins High School on a rainy, chilly Wednesday evening.

The dramatic win upped the Pirate season record to 16-2-2. Bluffton advances to the regional finals vs. top-ranked Ottawa Hills (15-2-2) Saturday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. at Defiance High School.

Fairview ended its season 11-6-2 with the defeat.

Fairview scored first as Max Meany tallied in the 13th minute to take a 1-0 lead. But the Pirates tied it up just under six minutes before halftime.

Bluffton's Kaden Basil flicked a low left-footed shot from about four yards out along the left side to the far right corner past the fallen Warrior keeper to equalize the game 1-1 before intermission.

The game then remained scoreless for the last 45 minutes of regulation, and for 18 minutes of overtime until the Pirates won it with a spectacular run.

At the 108th minute of the contest, three minutes into the second overtime, a speeding Jude Spallinger touched the ball deftly and quickly over sliding Warrior keeper Tyler Danburg and his right leg, which was outstretched into the air in a vain attempt to deflect the ball. 

Continuing to sprint after the rolling ball on the dead run, Spallinger then finished the winning goal from point blank range with a strong boot into the unprotected net to give the Pirates a historic sudden death victory.

The goal touched off a jubilant Bluffton dogpile celebration in the rain as they earned a spot in the regional finals.

The Warriors put one of their mere six shots on goal as the stingy Bluffton defense held Fairview scoreless for the last 95 minutes.

Bluffton fired 10 of its 19 shots on target, forcing Warrior keeper Danburg to make eight saves.

Ottawa Hills shut out Kalida 3-0 in their regional semifinal at Findlay Wednesday evening. The OH Green Bears won the state regular season poll title in Div. III, finishing with the number one ranking.

OH is 7-1-2 in neutral site games this season, while Bluffton is 3-1. The Green Bear losses came to Toledo St. John's Jesuit 4-2 on September 21, and at Perrysburg 2-1 on October 5.

The OH/Bluffton winner advances to the state semifinals vs. South Range or Central Christian Wednesday, Nov. 6 at a site TBA at 7 p.m.