Boys Soccer: Greenon falls to Botkins in district final

Cutline: Greenon High School senior Jeremiah Mauch (center) passes the ball to a teammate during a Division III district final match against Botkins on Thurdsay night at Bellefontaine High School. The Trojans won 2-1. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER
Cutline: Greenon High School senior Jeremiah Mauch (center) passes the ball to a teammate during a Division III district final match against Botkins on Thurdsay night at Bellefontaine High School. The Trojans won 2-1. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

BELLEFONTAINE — For the third straight season, the Greenon High School boys soccer team’s season ended in a Division III district final match.

The 10th-ranked Knights fell to 11th-ranked Botkins 2-1 Thursday night at Belleftontaine High School.

Junior Xavier Monnin scored in the final five minutes and Botkins held on to earn its second straight district championship. Greenon finished its season 17-1-1.

“I told the guys after the game: ‘One shot here, one shot there’,” Greenon coach Jeff Nickles said. “These were two very evenly matched teams who played a hard game. It’s not the greatest life lesson to learn in the last game of your high school career, but sometimes it just doesn’t go your way and you have to move on. I’m proud of my guys. I’m proud of every one of them. They played hard.”

Knights senior Trent Green scored with 28 minutes remaining to give Greenon a 1-0 lead. Chase Trainer’s deep throw-in from the right side ricocheted off several players until it found Green’s foot.

“It was just a little bit of popcorn in front of the net and Trent got a foot on it,” Nickles said.

About 13 minutes later, Botkins' Zane Paul scored on a breakaway about 13 minutes later. The game was tied 1-1 at the half.

Greenon goalkeeper Jay Mujumdar had seven saves for the Knights, including a few key stops in the second half.

“He kept us in it a few times for sure,” Nickles said.

The Knights had several opportunities to score in the second half, but weren’t able to beat sophomore goalkeeper Carson Motter.

Nathan Hawks, Masonn Hayslip and Will Spahr each had shots on goal in the final 15 minutes, but none of them found the back of the net.

“You’ve got to think ones got to go in at some point,” Nickles said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. … We had our chances, they had their chances. We got one of ours and they got two of theirs, unfortunately.”

The Knights will graduate 10 seniors from this year’s squad, including Green, the program’s all-time leading scorer. Greenon went 50-7-1 over the past three seasons, winning three straight Ohio Heritage Conference titles. The only thing missing from their resume is a district title.

“I would’ve liked to have won this game, but you can’t take away the body of work from these kids,” Nickles said. “I’m sad for the guys, but I can’t take anything away from all the hard work they’ve put in over the last few years.”

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