MONROE — It wasn’t the ending Troy Christian boys soccer team was hoping for.
But, what a ride it was.
On a windy soccer pitch at Monroe High School Saturday in a D-III regional final, the Eagles season came to an end with a 2-0 loss to Yellow Springs.
While the Bulldogs improved to 20-1-2, the Eagles closed the season at 14-7-2 — which doesn’t begin to tell the story.
“This is the second Troy Christian team to make the regional finals,” Troy Christian coach Ryan Zeman said. “I told them to hold their heads high. They have nothing to hang their heads about.”
Zeman said the senior leadership was tremendous all season.
Which allowed them to overcome ACL injuries to Josh Brubaker and Tanner Conklin to match the deepest run the Eagles have ever made in the tournament.
“It was the seniors that carried us,” Zeman said. “This season just seemed to be full of adversity. We played a brutal schedule, but I think that made us better. We came in here having won eight in a row and were playing our best soccer.”
Which included knocking off TRC champion Miami East in a memorable district final that went to eight penalty kicks before it was decided.
But, Troy Christian’s ability to convert long balls into goals was negated Saturday by a heavy wind — whether the Eagles were downwind in the first half or into the wind in the second half.
But, Zeman made no excuses.
“The wind was brutal,” he said. “But, it affected both times. I know it affected Yellow Springs as well.”
Yellow Springs Eli Eyrich, who now has 47 goals on the season, scored both of the games goals.
He scored at 18:58 of the first half to make it 1-0.
Then late in the first half came the pivotal play.
Troy Christian was fouled in the box.
But, Krishan Miller was able to save the penalty kick to keep the score 1-0.
“I thought that was the turning point right there,” Zeman said. “If we get the goal and tie it, it is a different game. The goalie guessed right and was able to make the save. Soccer is brutal sometimes.”
Eyrich added a second goal with 15:16 remaining in the game to seal the win.
“I am so proud of the seniors,” Zeman said. “They had a great four years and definitely leave a legacy. Now, we will cheer Yellow Springs on as they represent the Dayton area (in the Final Four).”
After an amazing journey came to an end — that was well worth the ride.
Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]