Luke Roberts Extra

Lexington's Luke Roberts, shown here during last week's Division II district championship match against Ontario, scored the game-winning goal on Saturday to send the Minutemen to the Final Four.

MARION -- The Lexington boys soccer team is headed to the Division II state tournament.

The Minutemen got there in thrilling fashion, coming from behind Saturday evening to upend Lima Shawnee 3-2 in overtime at the regional finals in Marion.

With 8:07 on the overtime clock, Jacob Hathaway threw it in and a Luke Roberts header found the back of the net to trigger a wild Lexington celebration.

"Second time (to the Final Four) in three years, it's pretty sweet," Lex coach Peter Them said.

Them's team will take a 16-1-4 mark into Wednesday's state semifinal against Bay Village Bay, a 1-0 winner over Richfield Revere, at a site to be determined by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

Lima Shawnee finished the season 19-2, with its only two losses coming to Lexington. The Minutemen tripped the Indians 1-0 in August.

Saturday's clash was a superb, see-saw affair.

"It was really a tale of momentum," Them said. "We had it early, they got it back in the second, and we turned the tide late."

Lexington took a 1-0 lead in the first period on Andrew Laury's goal.

But Shawnee settled in during the second period, battled back and moved on top with two scores less than eight minutes apart. Connor Niedermiere threaded a couple of precise throw-ins to Jacob Miller and Matteo Fusillo, respectively, and both split the posts. Those two goals came within eight minutes of each other.

But Lexington responded quickly. 

The Minutemen got the equalizer just three minutes after the Indians' go-ahead goal. Terrance Corbin played the ball in and Gage Potter ran onto it and may have got a touch on it as the ball squeezed past the keeper and into the net.

"Gage wasn't sure if he touched it or not," Them said.

Lexington had 13 shutouts coming into this tilt, but Shawnee's offense pushed Lex to the brink.

Still, the Minutemen had the final word this year in what has become a fierce series.

This was the third straight year the sides have met in the regional championship match. Lex won 3-2 in 2019 before falling 2-1 in overtime last year -- on their home pitch.

“I was texting with Ryan (Shawnee coach Ryan Quatman) a couple days ago and said I’d love to see you on Saturday just half joking around,” Them said after Wednesday’s win over Watterson. “And here we go. We’re going to see them again.”

Quatman told the Lima News his team had a game plan that fizzled at first.

“Once we went back to our tried and true we started to get our feet back under us and played a good half of the first half and a good whole second half," Quatman said. "It was back and forth. A lot of back and forth.

“We shoot for the stars. We are a program at that level where coming to the regional finals is right where we belong and if we get to go that one extra one it is icing on the cake so congratulations to Lexington and we wish them the best of luck.”

Chillicothe Unioto meets Cincinnati Wyoming in the other state semifinal. The two survivors will tangle on Saturday at 4 p.m. for a state championship.

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I've lived in Richland Co. since 1990, married here, our children were born here. This is home. I have two books published on a passion topic, Ohio high school football. Others: Buckeyes, Cavs, Bengals, Reds, History, Disney.

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