CLAYTON — Sophomore Caden Cronebach netted two goals Tuesday night to help the Northmont soccer team score a 4-2 victory over Miamisburg in the opening round of the boys Division I sectional tournament.
With the victory Northmont improves to 5-10-2 while the Vikings ended their season at 4-11-2. The Thunderbolts also beat Miamisburg 1-0 on September 24 to earn their last victory of the regular season.
Northmont now advances to face No. 2 seed Vandalia-Butler at Butler (15-1-0) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Cronebach scored the first goal of the evening two minutes and seven seconds into the match to give the Thunderbolts an early 1-0 lead.
Evan Teaney knotted the score with a goal for the Vikings with 18:30 remaining in the first half. That score held up at halftime.
“The first half we played a little slow. We were a little too timid,” said Northmont Coach Jim Oberer. “We got on the kids a little bit in the locker room at halftime. The second half they came out and just played great. They hustled and never stopped.”
The second half was a hard fought battle until Cronebach broke the deadlock with 24:16 remaining to put Northmont up 2-1. Five minutes later Cronebach was threatening the Miamisburg goal again when the Vikings goal keeper turned into a human missile and collided with Cronebach with both players falling to the turf.
The Miamisburg goal keeper was much taller and as he and Cronebach both went for the ball Cronebach hit his head and went down hard, but he later returned to action.
“I thought it was a foul. He got hit right in the head,” Oberer said. “Cronebach plays hard and is tough player, but that hit took him out.”
Terrel Benne boosted the Thunderbolts lead on a penalty kick with 13:04 left to make it 3-1. Benne made a run on the Miamisburg goal through the middle of the field and got taken down from behind inside the box.
“We gave him the kick because he made all the effort to score on that play,” Oberer said.
With 4:04 remaining Chris Okos scored off an assist by Kellen Oshea to give Northmont a comfortable 4-1 lead. Miamisburg managed to score the final goal of the night when Cole Northern found the back of the net with 2:25 left.
The Thunderbolts will now be aiming to knock off the Aviators on Saturday, a team they lost to 2-0 during regular season play.
“This is what we wanted,” Oberer added. “That’s why I took that seed. I wanted to give the seniors one more home game and to give us a chance to go to Butler and beat them. That’s what we’ve got to do. We have no choice. It’s one and done if we don’t. The last time we played them the previous coach switched our defensive lineup in the second half and they scored two quick goals. Butler switched their formation up to a 4-5-1 and that messed with us. After that we got back to our regular defense and played them tough. I thought in the first half we beat them. Hopefully our kids will understand that we can beat Butler. They are no better than us and if we come out with the fire like we did in the second half tonight, we will be tough to beat.”
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind