WADSWORTH — This wasn’t the way the Wadsworth boys soccer team was supposed to exit the postseason.
Up for almost 70 minutes in a Medina Division I District semifinal against fourth-seeded Copley, the top-seeded Grizzlies saw their season end in overtime Wednesday with a 2-1 home loss.
That they were 10:02 away from advancing to the final Saturday against second-seeded Medina (12-1-5) added to the sting.
“We had it,” Wadsworth keeper Tyler Randolph said. “It just kind of fell apart at the end. They’re a very good team. I respect their team. They put their passes together and they found the back of the net more than we did. That’s all it is. No excuses for anybody.”
The Grizzlies shouldn’t hang their heads even if this one might sting a little longer for the 12 seniors and 10 returning starters that played to a Suburban League National Conference title and a 14-2-2 record.
Kai Wagner put Wadsworth up quickly with a heady goal from 28 yards when he saw Bowling Green commit Alec Srodawa cheating out of the box.
Wagner’s shot found the right corner and things looked red and white for most of the match.
It took just one run to change things for the Indians (11-3-4), as Jared Mattei connected with Hunter Johnson through the middle on a slotted pass.
Johnson’s shot rang true and things decidedly went in favor of Copley.
“They never gave up,” Wadsworth coach John Johnson said of the Indians. “I would never expect them to give up. They may be unconventional at times, but they kept pounding.
“We lost some shape in there, and they kept putting us under pressure. It was hard to deal with. There’s no doubt about that.”
What made it even harder was a perfectly placed corner kick from Josh Davis to Bryan Kline with 13:01 left in the first overtime.
It stunned Wadsworth, which was looking to reach a district final for the first time since 2007.
“It’s definitely tough,” Grizzlies senior midfielder Connor Mendel said. “I don’t think many of us will ever forget about this moment, especially the 12 seniors we have.
“We let one mental mistake hurt us. It brought it into overtime. The underclassmen know how we felt after losing this. Our careers are over. We can tell them that it goes quick. Four years flew by. Hopefully, they can cherish every moment of it and can come out on top.”
There were some highlights along the way, however. Randolph tied a 27-year-old school record for shutouts (12, Joe Mendel, 1990) and the Grizzlies won their most games since 2004.
The SL National Conference title was the first for the school since 2001 and Wadsworth won it outright after beating Hudson 1-0 to close league play.
“I drive 30 minutes to school just to play soccer every single day,” Randolph said. “This season was awesome. I wouldn’t change this season for the world. This is my family. This was a nice run.”
While Wadsworth’s season is over, Copley’s season continues with a familiar district final against Medina at North Royalton on Saturday at 7 p.m. It’s the fifth straight meeting in the round of 32, with Medina winning the last two.
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.
Copley 2, Wadsworth 1 (OT)
Medina Division I District Semifinal
COPLEY 0 1 1 — 2
WADSWORTH 1 0 0 — 1
W — Kai Wagner, 36:13.
C — Hunter Johnson (Jared Mattei), 10:02.
C — Bryan Kline (Josh Davis), 13:01.
Shots on goal — Copley 6, Wadsworth 6. Corner kicks — Copley 5, Wadsworth 5. Saves — Alec Srodawa (C) 5, Tyler Randolph (W) 4. Records — Copley (11-3-4), Wadsworth (14-2-2).