PERRYSBURG — In Perrysburg’s Division I sectional final, no one was getting it done, so it took one of their top players coming off the bench to make things happen.
Perrysburg junior forward Gavin Stork scored the lone goal on a rebound from a shot by sophomore Alexander Diaz with 11:06 remaining to give the Yellow Jackets a 1-0 sectional final victory over Springfield at Steinecker Stadium.
Stork was in the right place at the right time, and he knows it.
“I saw our right winger go downfield, I was on the line, and he played it back to our teammate, he had a nice shot and the goalie hit it right to me and I stepped it in,” Stork said.
Perrysburg coach Dennis Jeansonne says Stork deserves more credit than that.
“It was just a quick little counter,” Jeansonne said. “Diaz and (junior forward Keegan) Motter got a pretty good ball through, but it was a great combination. We got there with some pace finally.
“Keegan didn’t rush it, which was great. He held the ball up a little bit, played it back, Diaz had a great shot, great save by the keeper and it was just on the doorstep for Gavin to put through.”
However, the Blue Devils came to play, trying to avenge a 2-0 Northern Lakes League loss to the Yellow Jackets during the regular season.
Perrysburg only had a one-shot advantage, 14-13, and each team had seven shots on frame. Diaz and Stork’s shots that led to their goal were Perrysburg’s first on goal in the second half, after 28-plus minutes of soccer.
Matter of fact, the two teams played 68-plus minutes of scoreless soccer, and Jeansonne gives credit to his sophomore keeper, Isaac Revill, for seven saves and not allowing any balls get past him.
“Our goalie Isaac did a great job in net. He kept us in that game,” Jeansonne said.
In turn, Jeansonne thanked his defense, led by senior Dylan Paule and juniors Trevor Pollock, Ethan Rieman and Adrian “A.J.” Bibb.
“I have to give credit to my defense — my defense played great,” Revill said. “Springfield was doing pretty good, I got on some shots, but I have to do my job.”
Springfield senior keeper Josh Sloan had six saves and Blue Devils’ offense was led by a defender, senior Connor Ferguson, who had three shots on goal.
Ferguson seemed to be everywhere at once, finishing with 12 steals and winning 50-50 balls every opportunity he got. Jeansonne felt his team could have done better when possessions were up for grabs.
“The unfortunate part is I don’t feel we came to play as we wanted to. We wanted to be a little more fired up than what we were, and we just weren’t,” Jeansonne said.
“We didn’t come to as ready and they did, and we had to match that level the second half,” Jeansonne continued.
“I thought we played much better, had more opportunities, put on a little more pressure and eventually got one to break through. They still didn’t stop.”
Springfield, which had won five of six games to close the regular season, fell to 8-9-1.
Springfield coach Adam Sloan liked the way his guys finished the season.
“Soccer is a fickle sport. I thought the boys did exactly what we had them do,” Sloan said.
“We had a gameplan coming in here and just to see them execute the style of soccer we follow every training session and just go out there — it’s why I coach and why these guys play — to be in a game like this and be in an environment like this.
“It is just unfortunate that we are that losing team,” Sloan continued.
Perrysburg improves to 10-6-2 and will take on St. Francis (11-5-1) in a district semifinal Oct. 26 at Springfield.
The Knights, ranked 14th in the state, are the No. 2 seed in the district behind NLL champion Southview (10-1-5). In the season opener, the Knights defeated Perrysburg, 3-1.
“We not going to play too much different. We just have to come out differently,” Jeansonne said. “So, our preparation is going to be we are going to look at a lot of film from when we played them the first time.
“I thought we played really well the first time, so we are going to make some small changes and we are going to come after them.”