The Ottawa Hills boys soccer team completed an unbeaten regular season Tuesday, blanking Toledo Christian 9-0 in a Toledo Area Athletic Conference road match.
The TAAC-champion Green Bears (14-0-2, 8-0-0), who are ranked No. 2 in the latest Division III state coaches poll, have outscored their opposition (105-10) in 16 games entering tournament play.
Ottawa Hills opens the D-III tourney with a home sectional final Oct. 21 against the Delta/Liberty Center sectional semifinal winner.
The Green Bears of fifth-year head coach Nathan Baer are both a team of the present and a team of the future. There are only three seniors on the varsity roster, and just one, defender/center back Jan Durst, is a regular starter.
“We play possessive soccer and it really comes down to selflessness,” Baer said. “I manage a lot of quality players with a lot of talent, and they buy into what we’re trying to do.
“They play for each other, first and foremost. When we played Northview [3-2 win, Sept. 28], you could see the resolve, the brotherhood, the selflessness.”
Leading the Ottawa Hills offense this season has been 2016 first team All-Ohioan Kevin Hileman, a junior attacker who leads team in scoring with 28 goals and 23 assists for 79 points.
With 86 goals in three varsity seasons, Hileman recently passed former Green Bears star and All-America selection Elliot Browarsky (82 goals) for second on the school’s career goals list. He next takes aim at OH’s all-time leader Dan Bryant (127).
Junior forward Dylan Schreder, a first team all-district selection in 2016, had 19 goals and 10 assists for 48 points, Durst was at 11-6—28, and sophomores Drew Hoffman (12-5—29), John Kight (9-6—24), Donavan Bridges (6-11—23), and sub Daniel Durst (8-6—22), and round out the top seven point producers.
“There’s been some ups and downs in building that culture the past couple years,” Baer said, “and we’ve come up short and sooner than expected [in tournament]. But sometimes you’ve got to be patient with the process, and we’re starting to see that pay off for us. I’m excited to see what we can do this year, and for the future.”
Ottawa Hills, the 2008 D-III state champion, last reached the state final four in 2012. The past two years the Green Bears have lost in the districts finals to Archbold.
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