MONROE – After finishing the season a pedestrian 4-5-7 (1-2-3 Greater Catholic League-South), Moeller High School’s soccer team finally found some offense in late October to propel a tournament run.
Against Beavercreek in the Division I regional, Moeller overcame a 1-0 deficit to tie the game in the second half, then won in overtime courtesy of senior Hayden Schriml, 2-1.
During the season, the Crusaders had an astonishing 12 games where they scored one goal or less. Between Sept. 6-15, they amazingly had five consecutive ties with a total of four goals on their way to an improbable total of seven draws overall.
Finally on Oct. 20, coach Randy Hurley’s group became more acquainted with the net with five goals in their opening tournament win over Princeton. They followed with a 1-0 victory over Anderson, a 3-2 overtime thriller against Turpin and a 3-1 win over Lakota West to advance to the regionals and Beavercreek.
“With Beavercreek tonight, this is the ninth team we’ve played that’s been ranked,” Hurley said. “We don’t duck anybody. We’ve been in this situation all year.”
On Nov. 4 at Monroe, the game with the Beavers was a familiar scenario.
The scoreboard showed zeroes for the early portion of the first half until Beavercreek scored on a breakaway with senior captain Jordan Morales lofting a ball over Moeller keeper Sam Frohman’s head. It took a fortuitous bounce and initially there was some indecision on whether or not it crossed the line.
Eventually, it was ruled a goal and Beavercreek took the 1-0 lead into the halftime huddle on the field.
Beavercreek junior Brandon Harroff’s shutout nearly came to a close when Moeller defender Jack Smith banged a 30-yarder that looked good before hitting the crossbar and sailing out of bounds.
Finally, sophomore Will Lonneman got the Crusaders on the board with 22:37 left when he connected in the middle of a fray of Beavers.
That took care of the scoring for a while as Moeller finished knotted yet again with another opponent. In the extra period, there was nothing going until it got under five minutes.
Moeller got close on a corner kick, then got possession again. This time senior Hayden Schriml found the ball and the net and the Crusaders lived yet another day.
Beavercreek fell to 15-2-4 with the loss, with Moeller going to 9-5-7 in another nail biter.
Moeller faces Mason Saturday in the Division I regional final.
“They may be the best team in the state,” Hurley said. “We’re going to show up. We’ll be there.”