BOTKINS — The fact that Dayton Stivers came into Friday’s sectional matchup with Botkins as the underdog didn’t have Botkins head coach Kevin Lynch fooled at all.
“I had scouted them,” Lynch said. “We knew going in that it wasn’t going to be easy.”
The Stivers team, loaded with eight seniors, matched up well with both Botkins speed and physical style of play before finally succumbing in Botkins’ 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.
“We took a while to get going,” Lynch said. “In the second half we got things going.”
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 team’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.
“This is a hard working team,” Sears said. “We 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.”
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.
“He is our best player and that is going to happen,” Lynch said. “He worked through it well tonight.”
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.