After four years, it’s hard to walk away. Especially after that final loss and hugs and tears with longtime teammates and coaches.
So there was Greeneview boys soccer captain and leading scorer Jaden Baise walking along the bench at Lebanon Junior High picking up empty cups off the turf and throwing them away. Most of his teammates were already across the field heading for the bus.
“Well, it looks like the freshmen didn’t want to pick it up,” he said. “So I said, ‘Hey, I’ll pick it up. That’s all right.’ ”
The freshmen and their older teammates will have a lot to pick up next season. They just said goodbye to 10 seniors who played in four district finals and finally a regional semifinal Wednesday night. The result, while somewhat predictable, wasn’t what they wanted.
Summit Country Day, the top-ranked Division III team in the state, played as expected and ended Greeneview’s season 6-0. The Rams, ranked No. 6 in the state, lost to Summit 5-1 earlier this season so they knew what the challenge was.
Head coach Bob Eakins said his team answered that challenge as well as they could.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” he said. “It’s been a rough week for me, but these guys came out and played their butts off for me.”
The Rams (16-3-1) held Summit (17-3) scoreless for 30 minutes. Then the Silver Knights took control in the final 10 minutes of the first half with three goals for a 3-0 halftime lead. Charlie Maciejewski scored the first of his two goals with 9:44 left. Then came David Cook at 3:43 and Brendan Jones with 47 seconds left.
“We played well, we played hard, we had the game plan,” Eakins said. “They’re just that good. For the first 30 minutes of the game those guys were frustrated.”
Summit plays for its fourth straight state tournament appearance in the regional final at noon Saturday against either Cincinnati Country Day or Cincinnati Roger Bacon at a site to be announced. The Silver Knights won state titles in 2012 and 2013.
“If they don’t win the state I’ll be disappointed,” Baise said.
While Baise was disappointed to lose, he is not disappointed in his team and his high school soccer experience.
“For four years we’ve been grinding and going to district finals every year, and that’s just amazing,” he said. “We finally got one and I’m proud of that.”