LEXINGTON — After falling behind early Monday in its Division II district semifinal match against Ontario, Vermilion mounted a strong comeback to start the second half to tie the game.
However two comebacks proved to be too much to ask and the No. 2-seeded Sailors saw their season come to an end with a 2-1 loss to the third-seeded Warriors.
Vermilion’s only goal came in the 45th minute when it was awarded a penalty kick after a player was taken down in the box.
Sailors junior Logan Penton stepped up to the penalty spot to take the kick and hit a low, line drive that was stopped by Ontario goalkeeper Matt Weaver. However, Penton had the presence of mind to rush onto the loose ball and deliver it into the lower left corner of the goal to tie the game at 1-all.
“It was hard work by the entire team to get the penalty,” said Penton, who ended the season with 11 goals and 11 assists. “When we scored, it gave us a huge run of adrenaline.”
Ontario (12-5-2) scored its first goal in the 20th minute when midfielder Riley Lamport took a corner kick from the near side that rocketed into the box and pinballed off of a few players before appearing to bounce off the head of a Sailors defender into the goal.
The game-winner for the Warriors came in the 58th minute off the foot of junior midfielder Brennan Blaising. Ontario will play top-seeded Lexington, 3-0 winners over Huron in Monday’s other semifinal, Thursday for the district title.
The Warriors had the run of play in its direction for much of the first half and after a series of halftime adjustments, Vermilion shifted the action in its favor for the final 40 minutes.
Both teams had six shots on goal in the first half, and Ontario ended the game with a slight 13-12 advantage.
“We went to three in the back and pushed a kid forward in the second half,” Penton said. “We had most of the possession, we had the momentum. It just didn’t bounce our way.”
Sailors goalkeeper Ryan Habermehl, one of seven seniors on the Vermilion roster, had 11 saves to finish the season with 68.
Vermilion ended its season at 14-2-2.
“We had some chances tonight but it didn’t go our way. Sometimes that’s the name of the game,” Vermilion coach Kurt Innes said. “Two good teams played their tails off tonight and unfortunately we came out on the short end.”
Over the past three seasons, the Sailors have won a district title, three Sandusky Bay Conference titles and averaged 14 wins per season. With leading scorer Riley Baxter returning in 2019 for his senior year, the Sailors are hoping to keep its recent run of success going well into the future.
“This was a special group of seniors and I am going to miss all of them. Not only are they great soccer players, they are all first-class kids,” Innes said. “These seniors laid the groundwork for how this program needs to be and with the guys we have coming back, we expect to be right back where we should be and hopefully even go a step further.”
Ontario 2, Vermilion 1
GOALS: (V) Logan Penton (45th minute). (O) Riley Lamport (20th minute), Brennan Blaising (58th minute).
ASSISTS: (O) Connor McCauley.
SAVES: (V) Ryan Hambemehl 11. (O) Matt Weaver 11.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Vermilion 12, Ontario 13.
FOULS: Vermilion 11, Ontario 12.
CORNER KICKS: Ontario 8.
YELLOW CARDS: (O) Wyatt Dille (30th minute), Ian Hoffner (45th minute).
HALFTIME: Ontario, 1-0.