Boys Soccer: Monroe falls, Lakota East advances in regionals

The Monroe High School boys soccer team’s historic season ended at the hands of another unbeaten squad.

Cincinnati Wyoming’s Jesse Levine scored early in the first half and the second-ranked Cowboys survived Monroe’s second half surge to beat the Hornets 1-0 in a Division II regional semifinal on Wednesday night at Lakota East High School.

The 11th-ranked Hornets finished their season 15-1-2, winning their first district championship in school history and tying the school record for wins in a season. They also won a second straight Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division title.

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“This is the farthest the boys side has ever gotten,” said Monroe coach Michael Oster. “I don’t think I could be more proud, I just don’t. I know that sounds cliche, but I love my guys and I wouldn’t coach anybody else’s. This is the team I want to be with.”

In a Division I regional semifinal, Lakota East rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat Elder 4-2. Ethan Seppi, Brady Shapiro, Adam Karman and Luke Birdsong scored for the Thunderhawks (15-3-3). East advances to face Moeller (18-1-2) in the regional finals at 4 p.m. Saturday at Princeton High School.

Monroe threatened Wyoming’s goal in the final two minutes. With 15 seconds remaining, the Hornets threw the ball in from about 20 yards out. After hitting a Cowboys defender, the ball fell at the feet of senior Blake Hammond, who played the ball high into the air near the left side of the goal box to a streaking Will DeBord.

Wyoming keeper Austin Snowden punched the ball out of the goal and collided with DeBord, who landed hard on the ground and was injured on the play, as time expired. The crowd erupted as no penalty was called.

“In my eyes, I thought he got undercut and fouled, but I’m sure other people saw it differently,” Oster said. “I don’t want to make a thing out of it, but I definitely think he did. I think that’s the reason he landed the way he did.”

DeBord was later taken to the hospital by Liberty Twp. Fire Rescue Division with an undisclosed injury.

“I wish him all the best,” Oster said. “He’s one of our captains and he’s an amazing kid, too. Our motto is always build the person and the player will follow. As he was leaving the field, he told me: ‘Coach, go take care of the team, make sure they’re OK.’ We’ve got great kids at Monroe.”

About 10 minutes into the first half, Wyoming’s Levine carried the ball into the Monroe defense from midfield, beat two Monroe defenders and beat the keeper to the far post to give the Cowboys a 1-0 lead.

“I thought we came out a little nervous, looked a little tight early, which is to be expected. The program has never been here before so it was somewhat to be expected,” Oster said. “Unfortunately, we leaked one in early. After that, we turned the game around. We had so many chances, some of them we hit perfect … Unfortunately, that’s soccer. The ball bounces that way sometimes.”

Wyoming (19-0-1) will play Tippecanoe (20-0-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Xenia in the regional final.

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