MILLBURY — In overtime, Bowling Green senior midfielder Mathias Drumm whirled and sent the winning 25-yard shot into the top corner of the net, giving the Bobcats a 1-0 Division II district championship win over Delta at Lake Community Stadium Thursday.
Drumm’s goal was enough to hand Delta its first loss of the season. The Panthers bow out of the tournament with a 16-1-3 record.
“It’s definitely our best season in school history. Last year was our best at 15-2-2 and this year we finished 16-1-3. It’s the first time we won back-to-back sectional championships,” said Delta coach KJ Abair. “We came up short (tonight), but hey, I can’t complain. They played with heart, integrity and they went out there and did everything that we asked of them.
“We do a lot of team bonding, and we are like one big happy family out here. They all love each other, and they do stuff together on the outside where most others don’t.”
The Bobcats (11-7-2) advance to the regional tournament, where they will play at Mucci Field at Huron High School’s Huron Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2.
At Lake Thursday, the Bobcats and Panthers played a scoreless tie through regulation with Drumm getting the game-winner just two minutes and 49 seconds after the overtime kickoff.
Drumm scored off a perfect lead pass from sophomore Tomas Meek.
“Great ball into me, I took on my man and put it in the top corner,” Drumm said. “It felt great to put that in after we were marked so tightly the whole game, but we finally broke through.
“I was looking for that run all night between the outside back and the center back. He saw me, put it right on my foot and I just had to turn and shoot,” Drumm continued.
BG coach Josh Fox said Meek did exactly what was expected of him.
“We told him to turn, he had space just like he had throughout the game, and they weren’t as compact as they had been so their outside back got kind of separated from their center backs,” Fox said.
“Tomas played a perfect ball through. I was just hoping that Mathias would get on the end of it, like he has all season, and he did.”
Through 82 minutes-plus of scoreless soccer, BG held a 17-8 advantage in shots, including 10-4 in shots on goal.
Fox said the Bobcats implemented a plan to take advantage of Delta’s defense.
“They just sat back so deep defensively that there was room to attack in the middle third. We made that adjustment at halftime,” explained the BG mentor.
“Credit to their defense — they just always seemed to get a leg or a body on the ball. Every time we thought we were through, we just couldn’t get through, and then we finally got there in overtime.”
Delta had its chances, too, with junior defenseman Eli Mora having a scoring opportunity in overtime before Drumm had his opportunity. Plus, the Panthers had a strategy of their own after BG’s 3-0 district semifinal win over Maumee.
“We just told them, ‘Hey, if they (BG) are going to be heading the ball a lot,’ because we saw them do that against Maumee, I said, ‘play off the touch and we’ll try to work off that, or we’ll try and cut angles and stuff,’” Abair said.
“I thought we did a pretty decent job off of it. There was a span where they had 20 minutes on their half, and we had 15 of 20 minutes on our half, but we just could not connect and put the ball away.”
Delta played behind a strong defensive line and highly-touted junior goalkeeper in Brodey Roth. Fox knew the Panthers would present a challenge.
“We played several common opponents, and the scores were pretty similar, so I felt like it would be tightly contested,” Fox said.
BG’s starting defense unit, seniors Max Nazario and Alex Lewis and juniors Eli Metzger and Chad Mierzejewski, along with junior keeper Max Haynes kept a clean sheet. Haynes had four saves.