SHAKER HTS. — The Medina boys soccer team walked off Russell H. Rupp Field on Tuesday with a collective scowl and heads down following a 0-0 tie with Shaker Heights.
The Bees (11-1-4, 5-1-1) also left for home Greater Cleveland Conference champions after finishing deadlocked with the Red Raiders (10-2-3, 3-2-2). It’s not that Medina minded winning its first GCC title and snapping a two-year skid without a league crown, it’s that the Bees had to share it with Strongsville (12-2-1, 5-1-1) and Solon (9-3-3, 5-1-1).
“I mean, we wanted to win out here,” Medina midfielder Gavin Csiszar said. “It would have been nice to get it and win the title outright. It’s unfortunate that it was a tie. It’s better than a loss, but we learn from it.”
What Medina learned later in the night was that Strongsville made the most of its open door and beat Elyria, while Solon did what it was supposed to do and beat winless Euclid.
“It’s just frustrating that we couldn’t win today,” Bees goalkeeper Jake Vogrin said. “It was a hot day and it was earlier than we usually play (because Shaker Heights has no lights, the game started at 4:30 p.m.). Some of that factored in, but at the end of the day we have to work as hard as we can. It’s good we got a shutout as we prepare for the playoffs.”
Medina certainly put in the work, outshooting Shaker Height 9-5 and taking seven corner kicks to the Red Raiders’ two.
The problem was Jeff Sauerland was in net for Shaker Heights and the sophomore was a stone wall.
“Jeff Sauerland played the same way against Copley (in a 2-1 win),” Red Raiders coach Jake Cooper said. “He made eight or nine saves just to keep us in the game. Today he made three, four or five massive saves. We’re riding a hot goalie come tournament time.”
The clean slate for Sauerland was his sixth of the season and third in a row.
While the soccer gods were on his side when Steve Samuelson had a shot clang off the crossbar 11:29 before intermission, Sauerland was the man of the hour on three second-half shots by Parker Csiszar that few keepers would get a paw on, let alone save.
“That kid made some nice saves on Parker’s shots,” Vogrin said. “Some of the saves he made, I just squatted down in disbelief. It was crazy.”
The Bees had no problem moving the ball into the offensive third, but just never found that finish to put Shaker Heights away.
“Our performance was poor,” Medina coach Simon Spelling said. “We gave away the ball cheaply. We missed a lot of chances. We didn’t have a lot of energy, a lot of passion. Who would have thought there was a conference championship on the line? We got what we deserved.”
With the regular season over, the Bees hope to turn the page quickly in pursuit of their fourth straight district title and sixth in the last seven seasons. Medina earned the No. 1 seed at the Akron Division I District and will play the winner of No. 8 Firestone or No. 9 Highland at home on Oct. 20.
“We definitely need to come out stronger,” Bees defender Grayson Madden said. “We definitely have some things to work on because we’re coming out looking to where we were last year (in the state final) and be champs. We want redemption.”
The Medina junior varsity tied Shaker Heights 1-1. Eriq Hacker scored for the Bees.
Medina 0, Shaker Heights 0
MEDINA 0 0 — 0
SHAKER HEIGHTS 0 0 — 0
Shotsongoal — Medina 9, Shaker Heights 5. Cornerkicks — Medina 7, Shaker Heights 2. Saves — Jake Vogrin (M) 5, Jeff Sauerland (SH) 9. Records — Medina (11-1-4, 5-1-1), Shaker Heights (10-2-3, 3-2-2). Juniorvarsity — Medina 1, Shaker Heights 1.