BRUNSWICK — It wasn’t raining Thursday night at Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium, but the storm brought by the Strongsville girls soccer team was too much for Medina to handle.
The Mustangs’ high-octane attack caught the Bees off guard in a 3-0 setback in the Medina Division I District final.
Two back-breaking goals late in the first half were enough to propel Strongsville (14-1-4) into a regional semifinal against Avon and end Medina’s season at 15-2-2.
It was a result that left veteran Bees coach Doug Coreno stunned, to say the least.
“I was very surprised with how it went tonight,” he said. “As a head coach, you have to take ownership of it. I felt like we were ready. We had good training sessions and kids were in the proper frame of mind before the match, and then it just didn’t go our way.”
Despite an even number of shot attempts, the Mustangs and talented senior forward Vanessa DiNardo dominated in tries that landed on goal in extending their recent dominance over Medina to 6-0-3.
DiNardo connected on a goal 22 minutes into the contest, but delivered an even more devastating shot four minutes later when she chipped a ball over goalkeeper Tori DeLappi off a feed from Nora Potter en route to a three-goal night.
“It was harder to get back to where we wanted to be,” Bees sophomore Haley Anspach said. “They got the second one and it was downhill from there.
“They scored first on us in the regular season, too, and then we bounced back to tie it up, so it didn’t really hit us. But once they got the second one, that made it real.”
It wasn’t until 26 minutes left in regulation that Kirsten Gormley recorded Medina’s first and only shot on goal, which was easily scooped up by Nora Potter.
Strongsville finished the night with an 11-9 advantage in total shots, but eight of those tries landed on frame. Included was a 3-for-4 night for DiNardo, who capped the night with a goal with 28:05 left on Sabrina Ortenzi’s second assist of the match.
“We just couldn’t get the ball forward,” said Anspach, who had three shots. “They’re a great team, so once they got the first goal, we didn’t bounce back like we should have.”
Mary Beth Blakemore and Tarah Roller also had a pair of shot attempts, but Medina couldn’t find enough of what it needed to get back into the contest.
It brought to an end quite for a run for the senior class of Janiece Joyner, Sarah Fisher, Megan Sency, Zoey Skidmore, Casey Cunningham, Lily Menssen and Kaylee Neura. That group had a pair of conference championships, two regional appearances and a trip to the state semifinals.
“They’re great players and they’re even better people,” Coreno said. “It’s been an honor to coach them. It hurts that it has to end like this.
But if you ask the underclassmen, they’re ready to keep the tradition of excellence alive.
“We’ll be back next year,” Anspach said. “It’s a rivalry that will never go away. Next year is going to be our year.”
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.
Strongsville 3, Medina 0
MEDINA 0 0 — 0
STRONGSVILLE 2 1 — 3
S – Vanessa DiNardo (Sabrina Ortenzi), 17:53.
S – DiNardo (Nora Potter), 13:42.
S – DiNardo (Ortenzi), 28:05.
Shotsongoal — Medina 1, Strongsville 8. Cornerkicks — Medina 3, Strongsville 2. Saves — Tori DeLappi (M) 5, Nora Potter (S) 1. Records — Medina (15-2-2), Strongsville (14-1-4).