BOTKINS â€” The fact that Dayton Stivers came into Fridayâ€™s sectional matchup with Botkins as the underdog didnâ€™t have Botkins head coach Kevin Lynch fooled at all.
â€śI had scouted them,â€ť Lynch said. â€śWe knew going in that it wasnâ€™t going to be easy.â€ť
The Stivers team, loaded with eight seniors, matched up well with both Botkins speed and physical style of play before finally succumbing in Botkinsâ€™ 3-2 win.
Stivers showed they had come ready to play by quickly scoring the first goal of the game and leaving the Trojans scratching their heads.
â€śWe took a while to get going,â€ť Lynch said. â€śIn the second half we got things going.â€ť
The Trojans managed to tie it up in the first half when Dakota Butcher assisted Andy Egbert, and Ethan Zimpfer beat the goalie with a penalty kick to put the Trojans up. However, Stivers answered with a penalty kick of their own to force overtime. Zimpfer again struck, getting a good foot on a the ball about four minutes into the overtime period to end the game.
Stivers head coach Andrew Sears said he was proud of his teamâ€™s effort. The school has quickly developed a competitive soccer program in only four years of existence. He said he was not surprised his team matched up well with a solid Botkins team.
â€śThis is a hard working team,â€ť Sears said. â€śWe focus on conditioning, possession and foot skill. They just made a great goal in overtime. We have eight seniors who will be missed. But I think our program is to the point now where we can think about reloading instead of rebuilding.â€ť
Stivers focused on top scorer Zimpfer for most of the game, and Lynch said he did a great job not getting frustrated from all of the attention.
â€śHe is our best player and that is going to happen,â€ť Lynch said. â€śHe worked through it well tonight.â€ť
Botkins is now 12-2-2 on the year while Stivers finishes up at 7-5-2. Botkins will play Twin Valley South tonight at 5 p.m. in Botkins.