VANDALIA — After getting a first round bye, the Butler Aviators had to face a familiar foe on Thursday evening to earn a chance at a sectional final – The Team Across the Damn – otherwise known as Northmont.
After testing the waters for most of the first 20 minutes of play, the Aviators finally broke through with a goal in the 24th minute that proved to be all the offense they needed in a 3-0 win over the Thunderbolts.
The win lifted Butler to 14-2-1 and puts the Aviators in a much anticipated sectional final versus third-seeded Carroll (17-0) on Monday night at Centerville High School. Northmont ended their season at 5-11-2.
Butler’s first goal came at the 16:21 mark of the first half when Stuart Royer centered the ball from the left side. Northmont’s keeper came away from the goal which gave Ryan Davis a wide open look at an empty goal for the score. Chris Mitrousis was credited with an assist on the goal.
The first half ended in a 1-0 score as Northmont struggled to apply pressure on Butler’s defense.
“They have a couple real nice attacking players so it was important for us to identify them early,” said Butler head coach Steve Doring. “We did a really good job in the first half limiting their chances, keeping the field tilted, and creating chances in our offensive third. If we do that, they aren’t going to be able to attack us very much.”
I think we matched their pace of play early on,” said Northmont head coach Bob Brow. “They (Butler) have two ridiculousy talented central midfielders in (Chris) Mitrousis and Burgmeier and those guys just dictate play. Their coach does a phenomenal job of playing to their strengths. They are a formidabl team and I wish them all the best on Monday versus Carroll.”
The Aviators got their second goal and a 2-0 lead at the 30:36 mark of the second half by Mitrousis.
The Thunderbolts threatened to break through in the 59th minute when a pair of shots were deflected by the Aviator keeper to maintain Butler’s 2-0 lead.
The Aviators got an insurance goal with 16:47 to play when Mikael Waale outmaneuvered four Northmont defenders to get to the goal in what Doring described as a “freaking filthy” move.
“We aren’t’ known for icing games – we like to keep it interesting,” said Doring. “When Chris got that second goal and Mikael the third we all got to breathe a little easier tonight.”
Brown praised his graduating seniors after their career ending loss.
“They were a great group of kids, very talented and hard working kids,” said Brown. “My two captains are extremely talented and expected to play at the college level. We wish them incredible luck.
Butler advances to play Carroll, a 4-0 winner over Springfield on Thursday.
“Carroll is such a historic program and they are so well coached and so organized, and so talented individually” said Doring. “It’s going to be a test for us but the boys are flying high right now. We will get them grounded a bit and prepare for Monday.”