Kalida's Drew Hovest runs after a bouncing ball in the Wildcats regional semi-final contest against Ottawa Hills Wednesday evening.
By Charlie Warnimont
Sentinel Sports Editor
TIFFIN - Kalida and Ottawa Hills were involved in a defensive struggle Wednesday evening.
After both teams scored a first half goal the two defenses took over this Division III regional semi-final. Playing through a scoreless second half and one overtime period, 15 minutes seperated the two teams from going through the penalty kick phase of the match. However, a defensive foul on the Green Bears gave the Wildcats an opportunity to win the game on a penalty kick in overtime.
After a Kalida player was fouled going into the box against two Green Bear defenders, Kalida was awarded a penalty kick. Senior Ian Richey converted the opportunity for the Wildcats setting off a celebration as Kalida advances in the tournament with a 2-1 win over Ottawa Hills at Frost-Kalnow Stadium at Columbian High School.
The win sends Kalida (15-2-3) to the Division III regional finals Saturday at noon at Findlay's Elmer Graham Stadium against Mansfield Christian (19-1). Mansfield Christian was a 2-1 winner over Elyria Catholic. Ottawa Hills ends its season at 12-8.
Kalida had the ball to start the second overtime period and immediately went on the attack sending a long pass into the Ottawa Hills end of the field. After a throw-in by the Green Bears, the Wildcats were able to get the ball back as a Kalida player dribbled it into the box where he was tripped by an Ottawa Hills defender. The referee immediately signaled for a penalty kick to the dismay of the Ottawa Hills squad 36 seconds into the second overtime.
Kalida coach Mark Czubik sent Richey, a senior, up to take the shot and he had to wait a little longer as Ottawa Hills goalie Jack Hylant argued about where the ball was being spotted. Once the referee signaled for play to resume, Richey struck the ball and snuck it past Hylant into the left corner of the net keeping the Wildcats season going.
"When you are in that situation you have to keep under pressure and I settled down," Richey said. "I just had to put it away. The mark was about 15 yards out and I thought that was a little too far. I stepped it off and he (Hylant) didn't like that. What he was doing didn't work. My dad puts me in those situations, so I was ready. I can go any where with the ball and I put it in the lower left corner."
Kalida coach Mark Czubik was confident Richey was the player he wanted at the PK line in that situation.
"I won't say I knew he was going to make it, but I was pretty confident he was going to make it," Czubik said. "He's done that his entire career for me. He is a fantastic, wonderful player."
While Czubik was pleased with the outcome but he knows the call could have went either way at that point in the contest.
"It looked like a trip to me," Czubik said. "You could play that over with 10 different referees and get 10 different opinions. He made the call. It's a tough way to lose obviously, but were not going to give it back."
The goal ended a night where both teams were unable to capitalize on the few scoring chances they had in the contest.
Kalida appeared to score a goal with 25:13 left in the opening half when Devin Kortokrax knocked in a shot. However, the Wildcats were called for a foul negating the goal.
Kalida scored with 19:22 left in the first half when Austin Swift knocked in a shot after getting a pass from Andrew Krouse.
Ottawa Hills tied the game with 4:52 left in the half on a 35 yard shot by Nick Hauck. Kalida keeper Brent Hovest appeared to have a beat on the ball, until it took a bad hop in front of him and glanced off his shoulder and into the net.
That would be all the scoring until the second overtime.