The announcer for Northview's home soccer match last night with Northern Lakes League rival Perrysburg introduced the Yellow Jackets as "the No. 3 team in the state" based upon the latest Division I rankings.
He followed with declaring the Wildcats as "the No. 1 team in Sylvania."
The third-ranked team in Ohio proved to be a little too much for Sylvania's No. 1 program as Perrysburg rolled to a 3-1 victory to claim first place in the NLL.
Perrysburg's goalkeeper tandem of Tom Salmon and Tim Ahlberg frustrated the Wildcats throughout the match. They combined for 14 saves with Salmon recording seven during the first 40 minutes and Ahlberg stepping in after the break to account for another seven.
Kris Richardson, Miles LeGros and Karter Sell scored a goal apiece for the Yellow Jackets, 11-1-1 overall and 5-0 in the NLL with two league matches remaining.
"It was a hard-fought game," Perrysburg coach Mike Timbrook said.
"Northview is a solid team. Both teams had to come out and put it all on the line."
Timbrook determined he would allow the two goalies to share responsibilities at the beginning of the season. Salmon, a senior, plays in the first half of matches, and Ahlberg, a junior, replaces him in the second half.
"They're both good," Timbrook said. "It [sharing playing time] keeps them competitive because they both do a nice job."
Kyle Scharfenberg scored off an assist from A.J. Klever to account for the only goal for the Wildcats, who fell to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in league.
Northview coach Ryan Creech credited the Yellow Jackets for making the most of their opportunities.
"They pressured us when they needed to and are more athletic than I gave them credit for," Creech said. "We didn't finish on our chances."
The Wildcats were clearly the aggressors for much of the night, but the Yellow Jackets showed why they're ranked high in the state.
Northview senior Tyler Puhl registered three saves on the night, but lack of shots on goal didn't slow Perrysburg.
Richardson put the Yellow Jackets in front 1-0 when he blasted a shot from 10 yards out on the right side into the left corner of the goal past the outstretched arms of a diving Puhl at the 11:28 mark.
The Yellow Jackets were heading into intermission with a slim lead before capitalizing on a defensive breakdown by the Wildcats as they recovered a loose ball on the Northview half of the field and Adam Moore flipped a pass to LeGros, who slipped a shot from 12 yards out to make it 2-0 with 12 seconds left in the first half.
"That was big," Creech said of LeGros' 12th goal. "That kind of killed us because we felt we had better play in the first half."
Northview remained active around Perrysburg's goal after the break and Scharfenberg scored off Clever's assist at the 67:59 mark to make it 2-1.
But the Yellow Jackets needed only 21 seconds to make it a 3-1 advantage when Kyle King recovered an errant Wildcats pass and found Sell, who scored his seventh goal of the season.
Contact Donald Emmons at: email@example.com or 419-724-6302.