Goals were hard to come by in the first semifinal of the 28th District Tournament.
No. 1 seed Model spent most of the contest putting pressure on the Berea goal, only to come up empty or see goalkeeper Ben Miller make save after save.
The Patriots finally broke through late in the first half and added a pair of second half goals, knocking off Berea 3-0 Tuesday night at Madison Southern High School.
Model (13-1-3) advances to the district championship to face Madison Central at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Berea finishes the season 9-8-2.
“They did a really good job and played really well together,” Model coach Steve Savage said of his team. “Our passing was good tonight and the defense played really good. It’s a difficult game to coach because the kids have played with each other so much. They know each other more than I do.”
Junior John Reisig scored twice for Model and set up the other goal when he drew a foul in the box.
Model, which extends its unbeaten streak to 15 games, had numerous scoring chances early, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
With 14:09 remaining in the first half, Andrew Wylie dribbled down the center of the field, passing to the corner to Reisig, who ripped a shot into the back of the net.
“Andrew played me a nice through ball and I took one touch and sent it to the far post,” Reisig said.
Two minutes after the Model goal, Berea had a golden opportunity to tie the game.
A header off a corner kick was on its way towards the back of the net, but Model defender Ray White got between the ball and the goal and cleared the scoring attempt.
“I got my head on it,” White said. “I was trying to prevent a goal in case the keeper couldn’t get there. That’s my job on a corner kick, standing at the far post.”
Berea played most of the second half without starting center midfielder Chris Kidd, who received a yellow card for a foul with 33:35 remaining, then received a second yellow card for swearing.
Berea coach Casey Poynter said he felt Kidd should have received a verbal warning, instead of being ejected from the game.
“He hadn’t had a foul the whole game,” he said. “He’s one of the engines on the team. To lose him for almost the entire second half really put a damper on our attack. We were creating some attacks, we just couldn’t find a stream to link the pass to Major (McGraw) or Ben (Lark).”
Berea had another scoring opportunity with 16 minutes left when Lark headed the ball towards the net and Model goalkeeper Turner Curtis made the save.
In the 69th minute, it was still a one-goal game when White sent a long pass to Reisig for a 1-on-2 with the Berea defense.
Reisig dribbled left, made a move towards the goal, and had his legs taken out from under him on a tackle in the box.
Wylie nailed the penalty kick for a 2-0 lead.
With 3:28 remaining, Reisig put the game out of reach with his second goal.
Hunter Conner blasted a shot that deflected off the goalkeeper, right to Reisig, who one-touched the ball into the back of the net.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” Reisig said. “We had some good opportunities. I think we had pretty good possession of the ball the whole game, but we need to work on finishing a little bit.”
The last time Model and Central met, the Patriots won 2-1.
Regardless of the outcome, both teams advance to the regional tournament.
While Model’s season continues, Poynter said he was happy that his team finished with a winning record.
“Our kids came a long way this year,” he said. “We improved a lot. I’m really proud of them.”