EATON – Franklin Monroe beat Miami Valley 4-1 in a sectional championship boys soccer game on Monday in Eaton to advance to the district finals for a sixth consecutive season.
The Jets outscored the Rams 3-0 in the second half to propel them to the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament victory.
“I think just getting that second goal was big, kind of took a little bit of air out of their sails,” Franklin Monroe coach Danny Diceanu said. “The third one really took some air out of their sails, and obviously finishing off with the fourth one kind of put the nail in the coffin.”
Franklin Monroe controlled the tempo of the game from the onset and had numerous shots to take an early lead. After almost 17 minutes the Jets finally converted on one of the opportunities when Cole McGlinch scored the game’s first goal.
“We really opened up really hard on them and created a lot of opportunities that just went by or we weren’t able to quite finish,” Diceanu said. “So I was pleased with the pressure we put on them.”
After taking the lead the Jets lost some of their intensity, which allowed Miami Valley to tie the game on an Alec Martin goal seven minutes after McGlinch’s goal.
“Once we got the goal we seemed to relax a little bit, which it’s nice to relax, but you’ve still got to have an intense relax, not a relax like you’re going to fall asleep, which is what we did, and it allowed them to crawl back into it,” Diceanu said.
In the second half the Jets picked up their intensity again and regained the lead six minutes into the period with a Jacob Shellabarger goal.
“He’s finally feeling good,” Diceanu said of Shellabarger. “You can tell he’s got a hop in his step and he’s going to the goal. He’s not tentative like he was early on in the season. It’s nice to have him back.”
Just three minutes after Shellabarger gave Franklin Monroe the lead Parker Hesler added to the advantage with a goal. Then less than 10 minutes later Shellabarger scored his second goal of the night for a 4-1 lead.
“The second half we really came back and kind of started the way we started the game in a more direct way,” Diceanu said.
With the 4-1 victory, Franklin Monroe won the sectional championship and now advances to play Roger Bacon in the district finals at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mariemont High School in Cincinnati. It will be a tough test for the Jets as Roger Bacon is ranked third in the state by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association.
“It’s not going to be easy, but we’re glad to get there, and anything can happen,” Diceanu said. “That’s why they play the games.