Columbus payback would mean title match

May 13, 2019

Ask Columbus players and coaches what went wrong in a 5-1 loss to Lexington on April 22 and you’ll hear a familiar response: uncertainty.

Whatever it was, lack of intensity, intimidation or something else, the Discoverers simply didn’t look themselves that afternoon in what turned out to be the most lopsided loss of the season.

No one involved can really put a finger on just how or why it happened.

Perhaps it was the result Columbus needed at the time in the midst of a seven-match win streak to temper overconfidence. Perhaps it was a valuable teaching tool of what’s required to take down a top-five team. Perhaps it was meant to set the stage for a later rematch.

That rematch is here when the Minutemen and Discoverers meet for the right to move on to Monday’s state championship match in a semifinal game Saturday at 11 a.m.

“I know we got our butts kicked,” coach John Arlt said Thursday night when asked what he knew about his next opponent. “Obviously, it’s a little bit of motivational factor, and this will be two times in the last three trips to state we’ve seen each other.

“I hope it’s a little better game than it was last time, but we’re playing pretty well right now, as are they.”

Lexington trailed Omaha Roncalli 1-0 with seven minutes remaining in the match on Thursday despite a 15-2 advantage in shots on goal. The Minutemen found the equalizer then poured in three more in overtime.

Columbus was never behind in its match with Gross but looked like it might regret a similar advantage in chances before Ivan Lopez headed in a free kick in the 92nd minute and Garrett Esch made it 2-0 not long after.

Columbus won the match at state two years ago 1-0. Lexington is 0-3 all time in the semifinal round. The Discoverers are 1-6 including a 1-0 loss to Elkhorn South two years ago after defeating Lexington.

Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com