DUBLIN – All Ludwig Conrad did was what his father told him to do.
The junior followed a teammate’s shot and scored off a rebound to give the Olentangy Liberty boys soccer team its first Division I regional title since 2014 with a 2-1 win in overtime over St. Charles Saturday afternoon at Dublin Jerome.
Luke Sensky fed through to Ash Rajmohan, whose shot was initially stopped by the Cardinal goalkeeper before Conrad followed for the game-winner with 11:15 left in overtime.
“I knew that goalkeepers drop balls,” Conrad said. “My dad’s been telling me that since I was like four. I thought that this was the time, so I went in and sure enough – it bounced off his hands. There was a scramble and he got a hand on the ball. But I just put it through and everything from there is a blur.”
Rajmohan said the play developed at the break.
“At halftime, Sensky told me whenever he got the ball – just go,” Rajmohan said. “And he got the ball – so I went. It was a nice through ball, I got the shot off and Luddy came in and cleaned it up.”
Rajmohan gave the Patriots (18-2) a 1-0 lead off a Jaggar Barnett feed in the 47th minute.
“Ash got behind their defense and fought off their defender and got around their goalie and was able to slot,” Liberty coach Marc D’Auteuil said. “Both of the goals were just straight will. I don’t know if there was anything spectacular soccer-wise – it was just our guy beat their guy.”
D’Auteuil seemed almost in a stunned daze as he shared his thoughts.
“(St. Charles is) one of the best teams in the state and to be able to put two in on them on this stage – it’s pretty unbelievable,” he said. “I’m just so happy for our kids and our program. It’s a great place to coach, we’ve got a great administration and on top of that the kids are great to coach.”
The Patriots are back in the state final four for the first time since 2014, which was the final of four straight appearances.
They were the top seed in last year’s district tournament before being upset by Westerville South in the district final.
“It was on this very field,” D’Auteuil said. “It was in a game where we didn’t feel we deserved to lose. It’s kind of like … the soccer gods were on our side. St. Charles had chances to win the game, we had chances to win the game. You can’t ask for much more in a regional final.”
Conrad summed it up more succinctly.
“I think we deserve it,” he said. “We’ve worked so hard.”
Christian Buendia scored the tying goal for the Cardinals (15-4-2) in the 57th minute.
Liberty will play Cincinnati Moeller Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Springfield Evans Stadium in a rematch of a Sep. 15 game won 2-1 by the Crusaders in Powell.
The Big Walnut girls soccer team continues down the same road it has all postseason. It even has a lot of familiar names getting the job done along the way.
Alexis Schone, Avery Schone and Grace Bodker each tallied second-half goals to send the Golden Eagles to a 3-0 win over New Concord John Glenn in a Division II regional final Saturday afternoon at Hebron Lakewood.
They’ve done it with timely goals and solid defense. Payton Carter stopped five shots in goal for the Eagles (14-2-4), who notched their 14th shutout of the season and fourth straight in a tournament in which they’ve outscored opponents 33-1.
Alyssa Tarney and Alle English each tallied assists for BW, which has beaten Granville and Chillicothe Unioto in rematches of last season’s tournament that saw the school’s first ever state final four appearance.
The Eagles are headed back and they’ll see a familiar foe in Cincinnati Indian Hill. The two hooked up in last year’s state semifinal, won 4-0 by Indian Hill. The state semifinal is scheduled for Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Doug Adams Stadium in Xenia.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.