By Ron Nunnari
CLAYTON — The heated boys soccer rivalry between Northmont and Centerville, two of the most successful programs in the history of the state, saw the two teams lock horns Tuesday at Northmont for another classic battle.
After a scoreless first half the Thunderbolts scored a pair of goals early in the second half against Centerville, the state’s No. 4 ranked team in Division I.
The Elks got called for a handball inside their own box. Christian Moncrief scored on the penalty kick at 36:25 to break the scoreless deadlock.
The goal boosted Northmont’s confidence as the Thunderbolts continued to pressure Centerville’s net.
The Elks kept the ball in Thunderbolts half of the field nearly 90 percent of the first half. Moncrief’s penalty kick swung the momentum in Northmont’s favor.
Nasir Eloi boosted the lead to 2-0 on a shot from the right side of the pitch. Eloi maneuvered past a defender and goalkeeper Luke Shrivers came out to challenge Eloi’s run on the goal.
Elio lofted a looping shot over Shrivers and into the net to whip Northmont fans into a frenzy.
The elation was short lived. The Elks’ Landon Miller found the back of the net with 26:01 remaining to cut Northmont’s lead to 2-1.
Three minutes later Adedotun Adelekan took a pass from Peter Evans and nailed a rocket into the net to tie the match 2-2.
From there both teams ramped up their efforts to gain the upper hand. With just under 1:30 left the Elks earned a free kick from midfield.
Drew Gaydosh launched the ball toward the net. Josh Cline deflected the ball with his head and Alex Bucher fired another powerful kick that found the back of the net with just 1:09 left to give the Elks a 3-2 victory.
With the victory Centerville improved to 9-0-2 overall and to 4-0-0 in Greater Western Ohio Conference play while Northmont suffered its first conference loss to fall to 8-2-0 and 3-1-0 in GWOC play.
Centerville is now tied for first place in the GWOC along with Springboro. The Thunderbolts will host Springboro on Tuesday.
“There is a reason Centerville is ranked No. 4 in the state,” said Northmont coach Bob Brown. “We just lost track of runs through the midfield and it cost us all night. We were fortunate a couple of times in the first half where they couldn’t find the guy, but in the second half they didn’t miss.”
Nasir Eloi threatened the Elks goal numerous times during the contest slicing past Centerville defenders who found him difficult to contain.
“Nasir is a nightmare to defend, that’s for sure,” Brown added. “We have three quality forwards that are all pacey as all get out, so we are a handful. This is the most goals Centerville has given up this year, so it’s bittersweet. We gave up a goal with about a minute left as we are fighting to try to gain respect from a lot of the teams in the south. It is what it is, but it’s just frustrating.”
Reach Ron Nunnari by email: [email protected].