MEDINA — The Medina boys soccer team had its mettle tested Tuesday and answered in positive fashion.
Facing the possibility of their first three-game winless streak since Oct. 1-8, 2013, the Bees put themselves in the Greater Cleveland Conference driver’s seat with a 4-1 win over Solon at Medina Memorial Stadium.
The victory pushed Medina (10-1-3, 5-1) back ahead of the Comets (7-3-3, 4-1-1) in the GCC race. A win or tie against Shaker Heights (9-2-2, 3-2-1) next week and the Bees win a league title for the first time since 2015.
“It means a lot to us,” Medina midfielder Parker Csiszar said. “We’ve really been promoting 6-6-7, which is six seconds to win the ball back, six passes and seven conference wins. One of our main goals was to win conference, and we’re pushing to do it.”
That’s not to say Solon didn’t give the Bees fits for 60 minutes in a game that looked destined to finish in a tie.
Comets goalkeeper Zach Baldwin stopped two penalty kicks in the second half and the Solon defense took two would-be goals off the line.
Ethan Berkovitz gave Solon a short-lived 1-0 lead 28:42 before intermission off an assist from Mike Mlyshev. Csiszar tied things with 19:55 left before the break and Medina started to roll from there.
After Tommy Guta missed a penalty kick, he righted himself off an assist from Csiszar with 20:47 left to give Medina the game-winner and a clear path to the GCC title.
“I’m so proud of them after having two rough games (a 3-1 loss to Solon and 2-2 tie with Archbishop Hoban),” Guta said of his teammates. “To come back and get a good win here is amazing. I’m so happy for our team.”
As he has so many times this season, Csiszar stepped up with his second goal, off an assist from Guta with 16:04 remaining. Guta put a nice bookend on the night with another assist, this time to Ian Gummo with 3:26 remaining.
Csiszar leads the Bees in goals (13), assists (6) and points (32).
“He’s better than words can describe,” Gummo said. “He’s my best friend out there. I always know who to find. If I’m in a situation, he’s always helping me out, always finding me. I’m always finding him with the ball and he’s doing his job.”
Csiszar’s job may secure a league title for Medina.
“He’s getting in the right shape,” Bees coach Simon Spelling said. “He’s doing his magic at the right time and forcing defenders to double team and triple team, and we’re finding other players and are dangerous. There’s a lot of optimism going forward. Hopefully, the rocky patch is over and we can put some results together now.”
The second-half surge for returning Division I state runner-up Medina seemed to be the catalyst for the defense of Ben Davis, Blake Febus, Weston Mansier and Grayson Madden.
The quartet gave up a shot to Eric Nuoafo that hit the inside of the post and crossbar but held Solon without a shot the rest of the way as Medina held a 10-3 advantage in shots on frame.
“We just kept our heads up,” Febus said. “We knew if we put our heads down like we did against Strongsville, it would turn out the same way. We just kept going and grinding.”
Tyler Gummo converted a penalty kick for the Medina junior varsity in a 1-1 tie.
Medina 4, Solon 1
MEDINA 1 3 — 4
SOLON 1 0 — 1
S — Ethan Berkovitz (Mike Mlyshev), 28:42.
M — Parker Csiszar, 19:55.
M — Tommy Guta (Csiszar), 20:47.
M — Csiszar (Guta), 16:04.
M — Ian Gummo (Guta), 3:26.
Shotsongoal — Solon 3, Medina 10. Cornerkicks — Solon 1, Medina 3. Saves — Zach Baldwin (S) 6, Jake Vogrin (M) 2. Records — Solon (7-3-3, 4-1-1), Medina (10-1-3, 5-1). Juniorvarsity — Medina 1, Solon 1.