TIFFIN – Revere likes to switch up its corner kicks.
And it couldn’t have picked a better option than it did late in the first half.
Revere’s Joel Harding scored off a corner kick to help the Minutemen post a 2-0 victory over Celina in the Division II boys soccer state semifinals Wednesday at Tiffin Columbian’s Frost-Kalnow Stadium.
Revere (16-3-3) advances to the state championship match against the Kettering Alter (20-1-2) at noon Sunday at Columbus Crew MAPFRE Stadium.
Celina, which had its 20-game winning streak halted, ends its year 20-2. Celina was the sixth team from the region to make it to the boys soccer state semifinals.
No team from the area has reached the state championship match in boys soccer.
“They were good, but at the same time, it was a well-played match,” Celina coach Ryan Jenkins said. “They finished some opportunities they had. We had some opportunities and we didn’t finish tonight. Their defense was tough.”
Revere outshot Celina 10-4. Revere had 10 corner kicks to Celina’s one.
Celina goalkeeper Aden Gariety made three saves. Revere goalkeeper Charlie Fink had two saves.
Celina and Revere battled throughout the first half. Both teams traded possessions and also took turns controlling the midfield.
Revere was making a few offensive runs late in the half had a couple of corner kicks.
Left-footed kicker Zane Van Fossen took one from the right corner and put it on the goalbox, but it was turned away by Celina.
Then with 13:08 left in the first half, Van Fossen took another corner kick from the right corner. But this time he played the ball out to defender Harding outside the right side of the 18-yard box.
Harder took his time and drilled a 23-yard shot into the lower-left corner of the net to give Revere a 1-0 lead. It was Harder’s second goal of the year.
“Coach called that play,” Harder said of the corner kick. “We look at the setup they give us. I was open up top and I put it home. I don’t think they were expecting it.”
Added Revere coach Nick Depompei, “We take a look at what we’re given. We have to be versatile with our set pieces. We have different options and he executed it.”
Celina had its chances in the first half.
The best one came with 27 minutes left in the half on a free kick from Brennen Piper from 23-yards out. Piper pounded the ball, but it rose and just cleared the crossbar and banged off the football crossbar, a foot above the goalbox.
Revere had more possessions in the second half, as its midfield began to assert itself.
With 20:23 to go, Revere’s Sam Webster gobbled up a loose ball, turned and fired a rocket shot from 27-yards out into the lower-left part of the net. That gave the Minutemen a 2-0 lead.
“We tried to plug the middle up a little bit,” Depompei said of the second half. “We changed some things up and changed up some personnel a little bit and we were able to get it back when we needed to.”
Both defenses were stingy most of the match.
Revere was a wall on the back line to penetrate.
“We didn’t change anything, but we had their top guys marked,” Harding said.
As for Celina, both center defenders Kyle Flaute and Luke Hone made numerous standout plays.
Hone actually made a kick save on the goal line off a Revere corner kick with 17 minutes left in the first half.
Jenkins said, “We had a chance or two in the first half and didn’t put it in. You’re not going to get as many chances in a state semifinal game and we weren’t able to break through their defense. They were a great team.”
It is Revere’s seventh trip to state. The Minutemen won the state title in 2013.
It was Celina’s first trip to the state and the first by a Western Buckeye League boys soccer team since Shawnee reached the state semifinals in 2001.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the team,” Jenkins said. “We played hard. We weren’t able to break through. Our guys never quit. They played the entire 80 minutes and that’s all we can ask. …. We ran into a good team and they played very good in the back.”