It’s highly doubtful T.J. Badiru will forget his first goal.
A move-in from Tennessee, Badiru helped spark Beavercreek to a pivotal 3-1 road win over Centerville in a Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division clash at Centerville Soccer Stadium on Tuesday. Badiru’s goal “lifted” the Beavers (No. 3) past the Elks (No. 10) in a match-up of state ranked Division I and undefeated teams. The loss also snapped a three-game Beavercreek winless streak in a series the Elks have owned (37-8-6).
The dominant team on Tuesday wore orange and black.
“I told (assistant coach) Jay (Guilliano) that T.J. was going to be the difference tonight,” Creek coach John Guilliano said. “He’s just missed for three-four games in a row and tonight the ball took a good bounce and he was wide open.”
Said Badiru: “That’s the biggest goal I’ve ever had.”
Beavercreek (9-0-1) has had bigger wins, but not this season.
Following a scoreless first half in which neither team mustered a shot on goal, Centerville (8-1-2) struck first in the second.
Five minutes in senior Zach Crawford buried a cross to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Despite being down for the first time all season, Creek responded less than six minutes later when Badiru headed in a deflection off a corner kick with 29:03 left.
The score sparked the visitors who had lost to Centerville 1-0 in both 2004 and 2005. Last season the teams tied 1-1.
“That turned the whole thing around,” Guilliano said. “After that everybody said ‘Hey, we’re back in this.’”
“I’ve been hearing how this was the biggest game of the season and I was a little nervous coming in,” Badiru said. “Once I got that goal I calmed down. Everyone else’s adrenaline started rushing like crazy though.”
Centerville was buried under the wave.
Senior Kyle Eakins gave Creek its first lead at the 23:14 mark when he headed in a shot over Centerville goalie Dan Wright. With 21:32 left senior Eric Mayhew scored the final goal on a penalty kick.
Coming into the game Centerville had nine shutouts in 10 games and had allowed one goal in 800 minutes. Against Creek, the Elks surrendered three goals in less than eight minutes.
“We told them to shoot,” Guilliano said. “Basically things happen if you shoot. If you don’t nothing is going to happen. Sooner or later something had to happen.”
The win gives Creek the upper hand in one of the state’s toughest big school soccer conferences. Of the five teams in the GWOC Central Division, three are ranked in the Top 10 in the D-I state poll.
Creek and Centerville both have yet to face No. 6 and undefeated Kettering Fairmont. The Firebirds were a state semifinalist last season.
“That’s the only bad thing about the conference,” Guilliano said. “Centerville comes in at No. 10 and they lose tonight and you know what’s going to happen. The 3-1 score isn’t really indicative of the intensity of that game.
“We just told the kids to put it all out there. If we win, we win, if we don’t, we don’t. Centerville is a helluva ballclub.”
Creek isn’t bad either.