PRICE HILL — Before a capacity crowd at the Panther Athletic Complex on Tuesday night, St. Xavier scored a goal in the game’s final minute to tie Elder 1-1, and split the Greater Catholic League South soccer title.
After a scoreless first half, Elder’s Austin Ulm put the Panthers, ranked No. 2 in The Enquirer Division I area coaches’ poll, up 1-0 with 20 minutes to play, said Elder coach Tony Gray.
With 51 seconds left in the game, St. Xavier senior captain Zach Thomas redlined the equalizer from the top of the box.
“There was a set play and we couldn’t clear it,” Gray said. “Zach Thomas just buried it in the bottom corner, an amazing shot.”
St. Xavier coach Brian Schaeper said with roughly six minutes left the Bombers, ranked No. 6, began committing their numbers forward offensively.
Schaeper said it was neat to watch Thomas tie it late in his final career regular season game.
“He’s been on varsity for four years,” said Schaeper of Thomas. “It’s great to see him have that shot on his foot. It was a fun moment to watch him have.”
The Panthers and the Bombers both finished with 2-1-3 records in conference games. St. X (4-6-6) did hand Elder (10-1-4) its only loss of the season on Sept. 22.
“In the second half, Elder certainly had the better of the chances,” said Schaeper.
Gray added, “We hit the post, the side netting, St. X cleared two balls off the line. They (St. X) just did a fantastic job, they played until the end and they got their reward for it so congratulations to their players and coaches. We had our chances and that’s just the way it goes sometimes. We’ve gotta get back to work tomorrow night and send these great seniors out on a high note.”
Schaeper said, “Without (junior goalkeeper Jack Gartner) coming up big the game ends in a different result.”
Elder hosts Dayton Carroll Thursday on senior night. St. X isn’t in action again until the postseason, Oct. 24 against the winner of Little Miami and Amelia. The Panthers open the postseason with the winner of Colerain/Withrow on Oct. 24.