The Lakota East Boys Soccer team advanced themselves to the Elite Eight Regional Final, defeating the Elder Panthers Wednesday evening 4-2, in a soggy semi-final match at Monroe HS.  The Thunderhawks become one of 8, D1 boys soccer teams remaining in the OHSAA state boys tourney.  The last time Lakota East appeared in the Regional final was 2014.  The Hawks will meet Moeller HS in Saturday’s Regional Championship contest.  The Crusaders defeated St. Xavier 3-2 in overtime to punch their ticket to the final.  It will be the East soccer program’s 3rd appearance in the Great 8, winning their only Regional title in 1999.

In last nights battle, the Panthers jumped out to a fast start and we’re able to put two goals on the board in the first 10 minutes of the match, putting the Hawks behind 2-0. As they have done before this year, the Hawks showed resiliency and responded minutes later when senior captain, Ethan Seppi, headed in a cross from senior captain, Parker Crowell, putting the Hawks on the board 1-2 and igniting the comeback.

Minutes later, East would even the score after senior captain, Brady Shapiro, headed a ball off of Crowell’s corner kick making the score 2-2. The Hawks would continue with their scoring momentum when a free-kick from Crowell found the feet of senior, Adam Karman, who squeezed a shot into a small opening between the Panther goalkeeper and the near post, giving East the lead 3-2 going into half time.

The Hawks settled into the 2nd half limiting Elder’s scoring threats and “sealed the deal” with 10 minutes remaining in the match when senior, Luke Birdsong, finished a scrambled ball off a Hawk corner kick, finalizing the score 4-2.

East’s overall record moves to 15-3-3 and their 11th consecutive win since suffering a 1-0 loss at Mason on Sept. 19th.  They will take on #1 seed Moeller on Saturday, 4:00 PM at Princeton High School. The winner will advance to the State Final Four on Wednesday, Nov. 6th versus either Powell Olentangy Liberty or Worthington Kilbourne at a site TBA.  

The Hawks and Crusaders played to a 2-2 draw back on August 29th in the regular season.  Number #3 ranked Moeller comes into the Regional Final vs. East (unranked) with a record of 18-1-2.  Their only loss was a 2-1 setback vs. Elder on Sept. 10th.  The Crusaders were the D1 State Runnerup in 2018.

CLICK HERE for a video interview with East head coach Jeremy Hilen and senior Luke Birdsong.