By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
XENIA — All eyes were on Tippecanoe senior midfielder Jake Rowland at Xenia’s Doug Adams Stadium.
Eighty minutes of regulation soccer and two 15 minute overtimes had settled nothing in the Division II regional final between Tippecanoe and Wyoming, with the score tied 3-3.
Which meant it would come down to penalty kicks, with each team getting five to decide which team would move on to play Columbus Academy in the state semifinals Wednesday.
Tippecanoe made its four — while Wyoming had one miss in its five PKs, leaving it tied going to Rowland, who had the final kick.
“What I was thinking is no one was probably expecting me to make it, given where I was kicking (fifth),” Rowland said with a laugh.
Tippecanoe coach Scott Downing had no doubts.
“Jake (Rowland) is one of our senior captains,” Downing said. “You never know how kids are going to react to a situation like that. He just walked up, said thank you and set the ball down (for the kick).”
Rowland actually had one thought.
“I was thinking about my brothers,” Rowland said. “We are family. Everything I do is for them.”
Then, Rowland calmly drilled it in the upper left corner of the net, setting off a wild celebration from the Tippecanoe players, coaches and fans — while Wyoming walked off after seeing an amazing season end.
“I just thought of my brothers,” Rowland said as he watched the ball go in. “I ran over and hugged my brother.”
In the end, Tippecanoe’s 4-3 thriller should come as no surprise.
Tippecanoe came in with a record of 20-0-1, while Wyoming entered the game with a record of 19-0-1.
And Rowland’s shot sends Tippecanoe to its fourth Final Four in boys soccer — and first since 1992, Downing’s senior year at Tipp.
“Oh yeah,” Rowland said about the history. “The coaches talked to us about. We did it for the coaches.”
Downing had talked to his team about this history making game.
“We have a record board at school,” Downing said. “We already had 20 wins. I told the guys, you are going to be up there. But, I hope you keep going in the tournament and aren’t just up there for the 20 wins. Some teams get a little tired of soccer at the end of the season, but this team is still going strong.”
The game had started out like Tipp was going to roll to an easy win.
The Red Devils took a 2-0 lead in the first five minutes.
Just 1:26 into the game, Ben Sauls took a cross from Andrew Baileys and drilled it into the net from the left side.
At the 35:02 mark, Tipp’s lethal weapon — the throw-ins of Owen Hadden — struck again.
He heaved one deep into the box and Eli Hadden headed it into the goal to make it 2-0.
“I think Wyoming was aware of how dangerous we are when the ball is in the air,” Downing said. “That Owen Hadden’s throw-ins) have been responsible for a good deal of our scores this season. He is the smallest kid on the team with the strongest throws.”
It stayed that way until late in the first half.
With 1:01 remaining in the half, Sam Renggli converted a PK after Tipp was called for a foul in the box.
“It was just a play where we could have let the ball go out and we could have taken a 2-0 lead to the locker room,” Downing said.
Tipp them made it 3-1 with 31:36 remaining.
Another Hadden throw-in resulted in Sauls heading it into the goal and Tipp seemed to be in control.
But, Wyoming was also unbeaten and not going down that easily.
“They went to three forwards and started pushing the ball forward,” Downing said.
With 20:30 to go in the game, Ethan Herbert one-touched one into the goal and then with 8:44 to go, Luke Crockett scored the equalizer.
“They had two really good goals,” Downing said. “The one was a nice one-touch.”
And while both teams had chances in the two 15-minute overtime periods, neither was able to convert.
“We knew what our jobs were,” Rowland said about not panicking. “We knew what we had to do.”
That led to the PKs, with Adam Trimbach goalie on Wyoming’s first two kicks and Clay Vaughn the final three.
Both teams were perfect on the first three.
Herbert, Jesse Levine and Sebastian Sinigalia all scored for Wyoming, while Matt Hinkle, Jake Smith and Sauls did the same for Tippecanoe.
Wyoming’s fourth kick hit the top of the crossbar and deflected over the top of the goal and Evan Stonerock converted for the Red Devils to give them a 4-3 lead.
“That kick (by the Wyoming kid), he probably makes it nine times out of 10,” Downing said.
Cobey Hausfeld converted on Wyoming’s final kick to put all eyes on Rowland as his kick would decide it.
“I knew I would make it,” Rowland said. “We had to do this for the coaches.”
He delivered — and the rest, as they say, is Tippecanoe boys soccer history.
And they aren’t done yet.
Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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