Prep boys soccer: Early goals power Monroe past CHCA, into Division II sectional finals

MONROE — Monroe High School’s boys soccer team grabbed a two-goal advantage in the first half Thursday night and earned a spot in the Division II Cincinnati sectional finals.

Adam Ploeger and Vincente Zapeda provided those two goals for the Hornets, who went on to defeat visiting Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy 3-1.

“Our coach put us in a great position to win. He told us exactly what we needed to do,” Ploeger said. “We attacked their outside backs and relied on set pieces, and we finished our chances. We have to work on holding possession better and overall team chemistry moving forward.”

Fifth-seeded Monroe (12-1-4) will play No. 4 Roger Bacon (9-8-1) for a sectional title at 7 p.m. on Monday at Indian Hill. CHCA, the No. 7 seed, finished 5-7-1.

“I thought we came out tonight brightly. We scored some nice goals. We were able to get around on some good give-and-goes and 2-on-1 situations,” Hornets coach Michael Oster said. “It’s a young team with six guys sophomore or under playing, and that’s something we’re trying to work through as the season goes on. Overall, I’m proud of my kids. They’ve battled all year.”

Monroe got things going in the 25th minute when Seth Wolfenbarger found Ploeger with a set-piece assist inside the 18-yard box. Zapeda would follow with his own goal off a nice give-and-go from Ben Griffis just 10 minutes later.

The Hornets made it 3-0 early in the second half when William Bruce scored off a throw-in from captain Austin Rilling. CHCA finally got on the board late in the match when senior Logan Welker scored on a corner kick.

“We wanted to try and move their defense,” Eagles coach Roger Straz said. “They have a strong defense, only allowing four goals on the year before tonight. Credit to them for not allowing us the opportunities and shots. We made three big mistakes … not defending set pieces and failing to clear the ball properly. They are a side that will go far with a defense like theirs.”

The Hornets outshot CHCA 11-5, with eight of those attempts on goal.

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