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Clippers aren’t letting up

VIENNA– The Columbiana Clippers and Mathews Mustangs squared off in a Division IV district semifinal at Girard’s Arrowhead Stadium on Tuesday.

A cool, fine mist fell throughout the contest, but it didn’t dampen the spirit of the competitors as the Clippers escaped with a 6-5 victory.

Seventh-seeded Columbiana had a, 5-1, lead at halftime before the 6th seeded Mustangs came roaring back. However, the Clippers (14-2-1) were able to hold off the comeback effort and advance to the District final on Saturday.

“First, I want to say that Mathews is an excellent team,” Columbiana coach Chad Vollnogle said. ” We put it to them in the first half. But, they didn’t give up. They came right back.

“My boys are fantastic. I’ve known from the beginning of the year that we could make it this far. They haven’t let me down yet. Saturday is coming up. They’re not going to let me down then.”

Columbiana will play Mooney for the district championship this Saturday at 1 p.m. at YSU. “It doesn’t matter who we play,” Vollnogle said. “We’re going to bring the fight to them, and bring home the district.”

First, the Clippers had to get past Mathews and that was no easy task. The teams exchanged early goals before Columbiana gained control. Senior Collin Schick scored first for Columbiana.

Mathews senior Dallas Runner tied it up, 1-1, which the score remained until 16:32 were left until halftime. From that point, the Clippers went on a 4-0 run to close out the first half. Senior Gabe Heinrich was stopped by a good save from the Mathews keeper, but Schick banged it in off the rebound to make it, 2-1.

Mathews senior Timothy Steele sent one from far away, but Columbiana goalie Nate Burnell saved it. Soon after, the Clippers put two more goals on the board in less than a minute.

Mathews sophomore David Arwright had a chance, but junior Drake Daugherty capped off the first half for the Clippers with another goal. Two minutes into the second half, Mathews freshman Ty Grimes made the score, 5-2.

Columbiana junior Ashton Kakavros overshot it, and blasted the ball into the Girard band shell, behind the net. Mathews junior Dominic Greenwood nearly scored but he was stopped by Columbiana goalie freshman Dylan Hogan.

Greenwood got redemption with a long distance shot to make it, 5-3. Greenwood kicked it high. The ball was arcing in the air, and snuck in over the head of Hogan. Greenwood almost scored again. His left-footed smash ricocheted off of the keeper and Grimes tapped it in to get the Mustangs (13-4) within one at, 5-4.

“Give credit to Columbiana,” Mathews coach George Callow said. “They made the most of their opportunities. We made some adjustments at halftime. I cannot express how thankful I am to the group that I coach. There was no quit. We were in it right up to the last shot.

“It was a very good season. We were fortunate to have it. Our outgoing seniors are clearly going to be missed. We have fantastic kids. Our future is bright.” Schick sent in a laser-beam, with 3:30 to go, to put Columbiana up, 6-4.

Runner scored again, for the Mustangs, two minutes later. Greenwood had another chance in the closing seconds, but his shot was denied as the Clippers advanced.

For the Clippers, Collin Schick had 4 goals, Drake Daugherty had 2 goals, and Gabe Heinrich had 6 assists. In goal Nate Burnell had 13 saves, Dylan Hogan had 3.

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