For a long time it looked as if Archbold goalie Kyler Boulton would be the game’s first star, as the junior made ESPN caliber save after save to keep Evergreen off the board.
But the Vikings overcame the loss of senior star Evan Lumbrezer for the night with a head injury, and eventually found a way to get the ball in the net to beat the Blue Streaks 3-0 to advance to 10-3 on the season Thursday in NWOAL boys soccer.
Ten minutes into the game, Boulton made a leaping save on Riley Dunbar’s header to keep the match scoreless.
It was then that Lumbrezer and Archbold’s Kaden Rufenacht inadvertently smacked heads in front of the net on a high ball.
Both left the game, however, after passing certified concussion protocol, Lumbrezer attempted to return to the match.
A match official overruled the medical personnel on site, a decision that an OHSAA official later determined was erroneous, leaving one of the Viking stars on the sideline for the night.
“I think you always have to be careful with kids,” explained Viking Coach Dave Skoczyn of the ruling, avoiding the controversy of the issue. “It turns into the next guy up, then the next guy and so on. Tyson (Woodring) was dinged up too so I kind of had to manage his time as well tonight and with Evan not being able to go back in you saw our guys off the bench contribute.”
Meanwhile, Boulton denied Dunbar again along with Alex Peete on the rebound in front of the net, then made a headlong save on Peete, going horizontal to his right to keep Evergreen off the board.
Finally, at the 5:01 mark of the first, the Vikes’ Nick Rozinski was taken down at the 20-yard line and Woodring made good on the free kick to put Evergreen up 1-0.
Then just four minutes into the second half, Evergreen doubled the lead when Peete split a pair of Archbold defenders with a pass that found the left foot of Dunbar for a one-timer that found the back of the goal.
Dunbar added a third goal with 18:11 to go when he headed in Woodring’s corner from the right side.
“We talk about set pieces and it’s about the service we provide during those set pieces,” Skoczyn spoke of Woodring’s corner kick that led to Dunbar’s goal.
Archbold’s best chance came with 14 minutes left when Karson Rufenacht’s free kick was saved by Jon Burnep, then Brodie Setmire cleared the loose ball from the box.
“We did get the shutout tonight,” Skoczyn said. “Jon didn’t have to do a ton tonight and we aren’t going to be perfect. I told the kids I don’t want perfect, I just want hard work. If we do hard work then we will be just fine.”
Boulton had 11 saves on the night while Burnep had seven.
Two days later, Evergreen avenged a 9-1 loss last season, by coming back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Division I Springfield, 3-2.
“We got a little bit too high after beating Archbold last year,” said Skoczyn. “And we threw up an egg, so this is a good win!”
Dunbar again scored from Woodring with eight minutes left in the half to slice the Devils lead to 2-1, then six minutes later, Elijah Hernandez bent in a corner kick to knot the game.
Then it was Lumbrezer scoring on a feed from Setmire for the Vikings’ winning goal.
Evergreen is now 11-3, and finishes the regular season hosting Swanton Tuesday at 5 p.m., then travels to Whitmer on Saturday.