Late goal propels Braves to district win

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By Ryan Naus

The Grant County boys’ soccer team rode a rollercoaster in their district tournament game against Mason County.


At times, they played inspired soccer, but they also played below their skill level.

Luckily for the Braves, they ended on a high note as they pulled out a 1-0 victory over the Royals on Oct. 12.

“Even though we didn’t come out and play our best game that we are capable of playing, we still found a way to win and that’s crucial in postseason play,” coach Dempsey Schlueter said. “We won, so that’s a step towards the championship.”

Both Mason County and Grant County were held scoreless until two Braves’ seniors stepped up to break the tie.

With 13 minutes left in the game, Anthony Clouse made a run to the corner with the ball and gave a cross that connected with Christian Cain to give the Braves the deciding goal.

“Mason County is a team that if you take lightly, they can sneak up on you and they showed that,” Schlueter said. “If our team wants to continue taking steps in the postseason, we have to increase our play as a team for the entire match and not in spurts.”

The Braves relied on another senior who controlled the ball during the game.

“Neal Koebcke did a good job tonight of controlling the ball when it was in his possession,” Schlueter said. “When he has the ball, not many players can take it from him. He did a good job of leading our backs in the game.”

In the second round of the district tournament, the Braves will look to avenge their regular season loss to rival Pendleton County on Oct. 13. Results were not available at press time.

On Sept. 3, the Braves fell 3-2, but scored both goals in the final 15 minutes. With a win against the Wildcats, the Braves will earn a spot in the district championship and will automatically advance to the region tournament.

“Our rematch with Pendleton County is one that we have been looking forward to since the regular season,” Schlueter said. “I know our team will come out and compete and make it a great game.”