Coach Dan Kulp and his boys have saved some of the best for last.
This past week as the team entered tournament play, the Phoenix took care of business against an undermanned Trinity team in the first round of the state tournament, 9-1, before rising up to stun second-seeded Elyria Catholic, 2-1 to win the Division III sectional final.
With the win, the boys move on to a district semifinal match-up with the Lake Ridge Academy Royals. It is Oberlin’s first district berth since 2015.
Senior co-captain John Elrod led the way against Trinity as he touched home three scores for the hosts in a game that Oberlin controlled from the opening moments.
The thriller of the week was undoubtedly the come-from-behind victory over the Panthers. In gale-force winds and blowing rain, Elyria Catholic jumped on top early to break the ice.
Oberlin held its own — finally in the 44th minute, as junior Terrell Williams made a run into the box, the Panthers defenders fouled the Phoenix attacker. The resulting penalty kick by senior Thayer Preston was true to square the match at 1-1.
A foray to the attacking zone in the 73rd minute yielded another Phoenix free kick from 30 yards. This time, Preston lofted the shot over the EC keeper’s head into the back of the net to give the Phoenix a 2-1 lead.
The Panthers pressed deep into Oberlin’s defending third in the final minutes but sophomore goalie Jack Page and the Phoenix defense were equal to the task, preventing any serious Panthers threats. Page finished the game with six saves.