Swanton built a 3-0 halftime lead and went on to defeat Delta 4-2 to win a Division III boys soccer sectional title on Saturday.
The Bulldogs got on the board in the opening 10 minutes when Riley Hensley found Hayden Callicotte who scored with 32:12 left in the first half. Coach Joe Hensley said the goal was a key point in the contest.
“Riley Hensley got the ball and three of their defenders went to him and he sent a ball about 25 yards with his left foot to Hayden Callicotte. Hayden made a good run and got a great touch on it and beat the keeper far post,” said coach Hensley. “That set the tempo for the game. Even though we gave up two goals late in the game I still thought we controlled the game from the start.”
Swanton added another goal less than three minutes later when a Riley Hensley shot ricocheted off the post and in. A Jonathon Byczynski goal gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 cushion.
A.J. Matthews of Delta had a quality shot late in the half but it was saved by Ethan Hensley to preserve Swanton’s 3-0 lead going into halftime.
Early in the second half, Callicotte had a couple quality chances, including one that went off the post but the score stayed 3-0. That is, until Joseph Durfey created space for himself and found the net for Delta to cut the lead to 3-1.
The Panthers were starting to get more pressure, but Callicotte responded with his second goal to lift Swanton to a 4-1 lead with 19:03 remaining.
Brendan Risner added a goal for Delta with about two minutes left to finish the scoring.
“I thought our team played the best they could’ve played. We controlled the ball well and won a lot of 50/50 balls, just couldn’t get shots off. It was just a case of their offense getting the goals,” said Delta coach K.J. Abair. “We did a great job staying on their two leading scorers this game versus when we played in the season and the score was 9-0. Very proud of the team and the senior leadership this year and I’m glad I got to spend this season as their coach.”
Swanton has a difficult task ahead of them in the district. On deck is Ottawa Hills, the state’s top ranked Division III team.
“Ottawa Hills is the No. 1 team in the state for a reason. They have good players and their coach has a great resume,” said coach Hensley. “They are very technical and they have plenty of guys who can punish you if you make bad choices. We have to be very disciplined on defense and our touch and passes have to be on point. We are hoping we can get behind their defense and get a couple quick goals. It will be a big test for us but if we play disciplined soccer we always have a chance to beat anyone in the state.”
Swanton and Ottawa Hills will play at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Ottawa Hills. Archbold takes on Maumee Valley Country Day School in the other district semifinal.