Sylvania Southview loses in state championship game

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    The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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  • Sylvania Southview's Jared Yoshino takes a shot on goal.
    Sylvania Southview's Jared Yoshino takes a shot on goal.

    COLUMBUS — The Southview boys soc­cer team left the field to wild cheers, their white-clad fans that filled two sec­tions of Crew Sta­dium as loud as ever late Satur­day night.

    It did not mat­ter the Cou­gars lost 2-0 to Pow­ell Olen­tangy Lib­erty in the Divi­sion I state fi­nals.

    One sign above all seemed to cap­ture the trav­el­ing party’s sen­ti­ments.

    “Thank you,” read the poster.

    “I don’t think any­body ex­pected us to come this far, and we did,” said Daniel Black­mar, the Cou­gars’ lead­ing scorer. “It’s been a heck of a run.”

    PHOTO GALLERY: Southview falls in D-I state finals

    The sto­ry­book march did not have a sto­ry­book con­clu­sion.

    Lib­erty (22-1) con­trolled much of the night — the state’s sec­ond-ranked team fired more than three times as many shots as Southview — while the Cou­gars (17-4-2) en­dured mul­ti­ple doses of hard luck. One of Lib­erty’s two first-half scores came on an own goal and Southview had a goal wiped off the board be­cause of a foul in the 71st minute.

    The fi­nal­ity hit hard, with Southview coach Chad Cody call­ing the night “bit­ter­sweet.” But he also knew when time lends per­spec­tive, this will be re­mem­bered as the great­est — and most im­prob­a­ble — sea­sons in school his­tory.

    “I have mixed emo­tions,” Cody said. “Ob­vi­ously, we’re dis­ap­pointed we didn’t win the game, but we’re No. 2 in the state rep­re­sent­ing North­west Ohio. I’m just proud of the team.”

    Sylvania Southview fans cheer during the match.
    Sylvania Southview fans cheer during the match.

    Play­ers said the Cou­gars’ post­sea­son run felt mag­i­cal. They were un­ranked and had lost three of their last five reg­u­lar-sea­son games — in­clud­ing a 9-3 loss to North­ern Lakes League cham­pion An­thony Wayne.

    A team of 19 se­niors then de­cided it would not lose. Even with­out the in­jured Black­mar for part of the play­offs, Southview stunned An­thony Wayne 2-1 in a re­gional semi­fi­nal, beat West­lake 3-1 to claim its first re­gional cham­pi­on­ship, and crashed the state fi­nals when Jared Yosh­ino scored with just over three min­utes left in the sec­ond over­time of a 1-0 vic­tory over Aurora.

    In the end, only one team proved too much. Lib­erty was in the state cham­pi­on­ship game for the sec­ond straight year, ranked 19th in the coun­try by the Na­tional Soc­cer Coaches As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica, and had out­scored op­po­nents 27-4 in its first six post­sea­son vic­to­ries.

    Lib­erty was quicker and ul­ti­mately bet­ter. The Patri­ots set up shop in Southview ter­ri­tory from the start, and rarely left, out­shoot­ing the Cou­gars 16-5.

    The Patri­ots scored on an own goal in the eighth minute. Jared Robin­son headed a cross off the near goal­post, which then ric­o­cheted off of Cou­gars de­fender Samer Sar­sour and back into the net.

    “An un­lucky bounce,” Sar­sour said. “It hit the post, and I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it.”

    Robin­son’s next point-blank shot also found the net, this time with­out the ben­e­fit of a freak mis­di­rec­tion. A short cross from in­side the box found Robin­son, who punched the goal past div­ing goalie Eric Breeden in the 36th minute.

    Sylvania Southview's Brad Brown (7) and Chris Ellis (16) react to the loss after the match.
    Sylvania Southview's Brad Brown (7) and Chris Ellis (16) react to the loss after the match.

    “I think in the first half we were a lit­tle ner­vous,” said Breeden, who had four saves. “We had never been here be­fore so it’s a new ex­pe­ri­ence. They were here last year so they’re used to it al­ready. The sec­ond half, we re­ally tried to re­spond.”

    Southview did. Though Lib­erty still largely con­trolled pos­ses­sion, the Cou­gars made a late charge and looked to get on the board in the 71st minute. A boom­ing and well-placed free kick from just in­side mid­field led to a rapid-fire suc­ces­sion of shots — off the cross­bar, off the goalie and fi­nally off the leg of Chris Ellis into the net. But as Southview cel­e­brated, the of­fi­cial waved the goal off, rul­ing Yosh­ino had in­ter­fered with the goalie.

    “They called that we got into the goalie on it,” Cody said. “That was the call.”

    He added: “[The Patri­ots] con­verted their op­por­tu­ni­ties that they had. The bounces went their way. We had our op­por­tu­ni­ties. The bounces just didn’t go our way when it was time to score. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Olen­tangy. They played well."

    And, judg­ing by the ova­tion from the run­ner-up’s cheer­ing sec­tion, so had Southview.

    “We’ve been with­out our lead­ing goal scorer for most of the tour­na­ment," Cody said. "Ev­ery­one pulled through to­gether, ev­ery­one on the field, ev­ery­one on the bench. It was kind of mag­i­cal. But we would have liked to have win this game."

    Con­tact David Briggs at: dbriggs@the­, 419-724-6084, or on Twit­ter @DBriggsBlade.