The Calvary Christian Varsity Soccer team made program history as they secured their first OCSAA (Ohio Christian School Athletic Association) state championship over the weekend at Ohio Christian University.
The Spartans met the #2 seed in the south Mars Hill Academy in Mason, Ohio, in their semi-final match Friday afternoon. Mars Hill started the contest with more possession but CCS steadily gained the upper hand and a ball in the box led to the first CCS goal halfway through the first half. As right back Matt Bender received a pass from midfield, he spotted junior Tyler Reinhard and looked to play a long ball to the forward. The ball was over hit into the goalkeepers box but took an awkward tall bounce which allowed Tyler time to put pressure on the goalie. That pressure resulted in a challenge that saw the goalkeeper take a step backwards and subsequently a yard into the goal. The 1-0 lead caused Mars Hill to commit more men forward and the Spartans again found the back of the net with 5 minutes till halftime. Senior center back Alan Labelle placed an accurate ball into the box which was eventually gathered by junior winger Daniel Wilt and calmly placed past the keeper. Daniel added another to his goal tally shortly after halftime after receiving a ball in a wide position and beating a defender before again firing past the keeper. Key defensive stops were routinely made by Josh Kilgore, Jon Salmonowicz, Andrew Reinhard, Clayton Slemmons, Noah Labelle, Alan Labelle, and Garrett Criner to preserve the 3-0 victory and place the Spartans in the title match.
Calvary met Genoa Christian of Westerville, Ohio, in the final after they advanced over Temple Christian (Mansfield) in their semifinal match. After an early spell that saw great pressure applied by Genoa, Calvary again started to take a firm grasp on the game. Genoa was able to deflect early pressure by playing a defensively oriented system and man marking senior forward Clayton Slemmons. The scoring started halfway through the first half from a Jon Salmonowicz corner kick that found sophomore midfielder Josh Kilgore in the box. Josh rose and placed a header into the upper side netting of the goal to give CCS a 1-0 lead. That lead quickly became 2-0 as Tyler Reinhard was able to dribble around a Genoa wingback before being tackled from behind and given a penalty kick. Center back Alan Labelle stepped up to take the penalty kick and calmly placed the ball in the right side netting of the goal. The 2-0 halftime lead was built upon following four separate free kicks from Alan Labelle. Each free kick was taken from a deep position on the field but was accurately placed inside the penalty box. Josh Kilgore was able to latch onto the first free kick, giving him his second goal of the final. Forward Tyler Reinhard slotted home goals 4 and 5 before freshman Garrett Reinhard headed home the Spartans final goal, bringing the final tally to 6. Grant Criner maintained the clean sheet late by making an incredible reflex save off of a Genoa corner kick late in the game. The Spartans held an 11-2 advantage in shots on goal and a 13-7 advantage in corner kicks. The Championship marks the first OCSAA title in program history after the team finished as runner-ups in 2015. The tournament victories resulted in an 18-1 final record for the 2016 Calvary Christian Spartans.
Submitted by Calvary Christian School.