WAPAKONETA, Ohio - Not even a wet field from a steady rainfall could slow down top-ranked St. Francis de Sales during its Division I regional semifinal soccer match with Findlay last night at Ryan Field.
St. Francis (18-0-3) hustled past Findlay for a 4-1 victory before an enthusiastic crowd that didn't seem bothered by the weather.
Sam Mayer scored twice in the Knights' second win over the Trojans this season. Aaron Lechlak and Bart Urbaniak also recorded a goal apiece.
“I give them a lot of credit because they're an excellent team and have all the ability to win the state championship,” said Findlay coach Albert Laux, whose team bowed out at 11-7-2.
Findlay's Andrew Snook scored the Trojans' goal, which came with 17:04 remaining in the first half to tie the score at 1.
However, it didn't take long for the Knights to strike right back - it was only 47 seconds until Urbaniak slapped a shot by Findlay goalie Logan Anderson with 16:17 left in the half to put St. Francis ahead 2-1.
Urbaniak's second goal of the year would stand as the game-winner.
“I had a good look and no one was on me,” said the Knights' junior midfielder.
St. Francis coach John Orozco also thought Urbaniak's goal coming off of a free kick was the difference.
“The second goal for us was tremendous,” Orozco said. “That was a tremendous turning point.
“They tied it up and we turned right around and responded and that showed great character.”
The Knights will play in the regional championship game Saturday in Lexington.
Mayer scored the first of his two goals late in the first half when he received a pass from Urbaniak to give the Knights a 3-1 lead with 1:38 remaining before intermission. Mayer, a junior forward, also scored a goal in the second half to give him 13 for the season.
Mayer said playing in the rain has always worked in the Knights' favor this season.
“I think we play better in the rain,” Mayer said. “It's great soccer weather.”