MEDINA — Michael Neumann had a goal taken away from him near the midway point of the second half against the Medina boys soccer team Tuesday.
When the opportunity presented itself three more times, the Strongsville junior made sure it didn’t happen again in a 3-1 Greater Cleveland Conference upset of the previously unbeaten Bees.
Flagged for offsides with 22:17 remaining, Neumann used the setback as a catalyst, scoring three goals in a span of 11:48 to lift the Mustangs (9-2-1, 3-1-1).
“This game was huge,” Neumann said. “This will help us moving forward. When we beat (previously unbeaten) North Royalton last Saturday, it was a big game for us. We came in here with a lot of confidence. Now, we’ll go into the next game against Lincoln West hopefully with even more confidence.”
The win was almost a carbon copy of the last time Strongsville beat the Bees (10-1-2, 4-1). That one came on Oct. 13, 2015, when the Mustangs ended Medina’s postseason run by waiting back defensively before beating the Bees 1-0 in a Division I, Region 2 semifinal.
This time, Strongsville used incredible defense from Maxwell Kennedy, Nathan Kortyna, Owen Lorince and Matt Bush, with Nolan Kellogg playing fantastic in net.
While the Bees had their chances, that quintet stood tall until the game was already out of reach.
Cole Werthmuller fired a shot on net that Kellogg stopped with 27:12 remaining in the first half. Werthmuller gathered the rebound and sent one on frame that was headed for the back of the net before Lorince took it off the line for a corner kick.
In the second half, Werthmuller headed a shot to the left. It looked like it was going to be a 1-0 lead for Medina, but Kellogg went into the net and kept his hands and the ball out to preserve the scoreless tie.
After that, Neumann did his thing as Strongsville beat the Bees in the regular season for the first time since Oct. 13, 2010.
“Some of these guys remember that they haven’t been able to beat this team,” Mustangs coach Tobey Cook said. “What it tells us now is that we’re capable of playing with the best teams in the state. We beat No. 2 in Greater Cleveland in North Royalton on Saturday. We’ve beaten the No. 3 in the state in Medina. There’s a good, positive vibe.”
While Werthmuller was able to get his team on the board with 3:04 left, the loss was a reminder to Medina that everyone is going to give the Bees their best shot.
“It stings a little more, but we still have room for improvement,” Werthmuller said. “We’re just thankful it’s not in late October or November.”
The loss puts a gigantic bull’s-eye on an Oct. 2 GCC meeting with Solon (6-2-3, 4-0-1), which now sits atop the league by itself.
Beat the Comets next week at home and Medina puts itself in the driver’s seat to win the league for the first time since 2015. Anything else and Solon walks away as conference champion.
“We have some tough games on our schedule,” Bees coach Simon Spelling said. “Strongsville and Solon are always going to be tough games for us. It was going to be a tough game if we won tonight. It was going to be a tough game if we lost.”
The one thing the loss did more than anything was open the eyes of a Medina team that hadn’t lost a regular-season contest at home since Sept. 30, 2014 (Hudson, 2-1).
“It shows us that there are teams out there that are competitive,” Bees defender Grayson Madden said. “We’re not the best around. We aren’t perfect. There are things we need to keep working at to get better and be the best.”
- The Medina junior varsity beat Strongsville 3-1. Logan Hacker, Matt Mon￩ and Breck Horton scored for the Bees.
- Medina resident Dan Polk, who has sung the national anthem at Indians, Bengals and Cavaliers games, performed “The Star Spangled Banner” before the varsity game. If the Indians make it to the American League Championship Series in October, Polk will sing at the first game at home.
Strongsville 3, Medina 1
STRONGSVIILE 0 3 — 3
MEDINA 0 1 — 1
S — Michael Neumann, 15:47.
S — Neumann, 4:39.
S — Neumann (Michael Tusick), 3:59.
M — Cole Werthmuller (Tommy Gutta), 3:04.
Shotsongoal — Strongsville 5, Medina 10. Cornerkicks — Strongsville 1, Medina 6. Saves — Nolan Kellogg (S) 8, Jake Vogrin (M) 2. Records — Strongsville (9-2-1, 3-1-1), Medina (10-1-2, 4-1). Juniorvarsity — Medina 3, Strongsville 1.