FINDLAY — The Maumee boys soccer team simply let one get away.
Unfortunately for the Panthers (12-6-1) the result was a 1-0 loss to St. Marys Memorial in a Division II regional semifinal.
With 1:15 left in the second overtime, the Maumee defense allowed St. Marys forward Dakota McVety to slide his way through the box and around Panthers defenders. He buried the ball in the back of the net for the only goal of the contest just before the game would have gone to penalty kicks.
The Maumee defense was stout all game, withstanding heavy pressure from St. Marys. But one breakdown was all that mattered in the end.
“He slipped right through,” Maumee senior captain Adam Coe said. “It should have been easily guarded, but we just couldn't do it. It was just a mental mistake.”
The game was a contrast in styles as Maumee used its size and strength to make it a physical match. St. Marys countered with speed and crisp passing.
“It was extremely physical,” Maumee coach Doug Everhart said. “I’m very proud of my team. We’ve battled through a lot this year and I never expected to be in a district final, let alone taking a chance of going this far here.”
Maumee didn’t have many scoring chances and senior forward Alex Wagener was the lone player who provided any kind of threat on offense.
Wagener nearly scored with 33:00 left in the second half. He flicked a shot toward the net after gathering a long pass into the box. It went over the St. Marys goalkeeper Stuart Yahl, but trickled just wide right of the goal.
With 20 minutes remaining, Wagener made a long run down the left side, avoiding defenders but again he was unable to beat Yahl.
This was an up and down season for Maumee as they won 12 games despite a 1-5-1 mark in the NLL. The team peaked at the right time and was able to use its experience against the powerhouse conference teams. The Panthers earned hard fought tournament wins against Wauseon and Oak Harbor in overtime, before topping Rossford 3-0 in the district final.
“There’s no question,” Everhart said. “When you play in one of the toughest leagues in the state, even though we’re underdogs normally, to play that type of competition every week prepares you for this. I can’t say enough about playing in a league like that.”
It’s a bittersweet ending for Maumee’s 10 seniors, who left a mark on the program and were a big part of this tournament run.
“I definitely feel for them,” Everhart said. “I can’t say anyone didn’t leave everything on the field. I’m very proud of what they’ve done. We will miss them. There’s quite a few of them that are very talented players and we will definitely miss them.”