ELBING — The Berean Academy soccer team used a strong start to get by Elyria Christian-Hutchinson Central Christian 2-0 in the semifinals of the Class 4-3-2-1A South Central Regional III at the Berean Academy field in Elbing.

“One of my first challenges, my pre-game challenges, was to establish ourselves early,” Berean coach Russ Busenitz said. “We knew the first 10 minutes would be important. We really did play well and dominated in the first 10 minutes. Then we relaxed. Things didn’t go quite as well for us, but I’m proud of them meeting that challenge. We created more chances, but we weren’t as good as we needed to be with touches.”

Elyria Christian, a former rival of Berean’s, revived its program after being disbanded several years ago. The Eagles are playing in a co-operative with Hutchinson Central Christian.

“The school, especially the athletic director, have been great in helping everything and getting us some games,” Eagles’ coach Tim Nelson said. “It was definitely a rebuilding season. The guys played hard. We have a couple seniors out there who knew it wasn’t going to be fun. They were out there to help us out and give us some leadership. We have some good juniors out there, who could do some great things for us next year.”

Of the 14 players on the roster, 12 were from Elyria Christian.

“We had a couple from Central who had really helped us out,” Nelson said. “I’m hoping they’ll bring some of their friends next year.”

The Eagles played just five games against varsity opponents, finishing the season 1-4. The team’s sole win against a varsity was 3-2 over Wichita Independent on Oct. 10.

The team played a number of games against junior varsity squads.

“Hopefully, next year we’ll get a full schedule,” Nelson said.

Berean held about an 80-20 possession advantage in the first half. Landon Stucky scored on the Warriors’ second shot of the game from about 12 yards out. Jon Hoover scored in the 37th minute.

The balance of possession evened out in the second half. Each team had two shots.

Zac Koontz had four saves in goal for Berean Academy for the shutout win. Ben Unruh had seven saves in goal for the Eagles.

“We played well,” Nelson said. “They’re a great team. They’re fun to play. They are very well coached. Hopefully, we can get them again next year and give them a better game.”

The Warriors are 10-5-2 and host the winner of Tuesday’s Independence (9-6-1)-Wichita Trinity Academy (5-11) game at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Busenitz said the extra day of rest over its opponent will be important.

“We had the option to schedule today or tomorrow,” Busenitz said. “We could have played tomorrow. Having two days rest between games was our thinking. It looks like that was a good choice too because of the weather. That was the reason for getting this game in earlier.

“I would really like us to improve our touches on passing. Our touches were adequate, but needs to be better. That’s my challenge for Thursday.”


Berean Ac.;2;0;—2

1. BA Landon Stucky (uanssisted) 7:16

2. BA Jon Hoover (unassisted) 36:14

Total shots — EC 2-2—4, BA 9-2—11. Shots on goal — EC 2-2—4, BA 7-2—9. Saves — EC: Ben Unruh (L) 5-2—7. BA: Zac Koontz (W) 2-2—4. Corner kicks — EC 0, BA 6. Fouls — EC 4, BA 9. Offside — EC 1, BA 1. Cautions — BA: Zach Dugger 27:36, A.J. Templin 39:33.