MEDINA — The Archbishop Hoban boys soccer team came in with a pack mentality Wednesday for an Akron Division I District semifinal against Medina.
The Bees left Medina Memorial Stadium as the lone wolf standing.
Playing with eight and sometimes nine players back, the fourth-seeded Knights looked content to take the game to overtime or possibly penalty kicks.
Cole Werthmuller ruined that idea, and top-seeded Medina will play in its sixth straight district final after beating Hoban 2-0.
The returning state finalist’s prize will be a district final Saturday against second-seeded Copley (12-4-2). The Indians beat No. 3 Brunswick 2-1.
“It’s really tough when you have to play patient,” Werthmuller said. “We have a lot of players that like to make runs and we have people who like to play it over the top, but it’s tough when they’re packing nine in the box. We’re just patient and looking for those opportunities.”
The fourth-seeded Knights (11-3-4) played defense spectacularly as the teams went into the break scoreless.
Despite not having any first-half shots on goal, Hoban only conceded two to the top-seeded Bees (13-1-4).
“We had to swing the ball back from side to side,” Medina defender Blake Febus said. “It was hard to break them down in the first half. In the second half, we started playing better soccer, moving the ball around more and we found the holes. We had two chances by (Werthmuller), and we went on and won.”
A foul on Medina leading scorer Parker Csiszar, who exited with an injury on the play, changed momentum as the Bees ramped up their intensity.
Werthmuller beat keeper John Lauterjung to the right upper 90 from 20 yards with 34:22 remaining, and the forward took a perfect pass from Febus three minutes later for a two-goal advantage that changed the complexion of the game.
“The second goal was really big,” Werthmuller said. “The first goal, they were still in the game, but the second goal, it kind of put a mood on their side that they were kind of done. It gave us the energy.”
With Csiszar (14 goals, 7 assists, 35 points) out, Medina coach Simon Spelling put all the pressure on Werthmuller, and the sophomore came through like a four-year starter.
“He was the game-winner,” Spelling said of Werthmuller. “He hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to take restarts because Parker has been the man, but today we’ve got to reconsider and maybe give Cole an opportunity. He smacked one with his right foot. He smacked one with his left foot.”
While Csiszar will be evaluated and is a game-time decision for Saturday, the Bees showed they could play collectively. That held true especially in the back, where Ben Davis, Grayson Madden, Tommy Guta, Blake Febus, Weston Mansier and Steve Samuelson helped Jake Vogrin pick up shutout No. 10.
Hoban put just one shot on frame, from 35 yards on a free kick with 6:24 left.
“They make everything easier,” Vogrin said. “It helps me because it gives me more time to communicate and organize everybody. It’s just less work.”
The win brings a familiar opponent in Copley. It’ll be the sixth straight time the two have met in the district finals. Medina has won three in a row and four of the last five.
The Bees opened the season with a 2-1 win over the Indians.
“You’ve got to defend well and not give up a goal,” Spelling said. “You’ve got to take opportunities when they arise. That’s what happened tonight.”
Medina 2, Archbishop Hoban 0
Akron Division I District Semifinal
HOBAN 0 0 — 0
MEDINA 0 2 — 2
M — Cole Werthmuller, 34:22.
M — Werthmuller (Blake Febus), 31:16.
Shots on goal — Hoban 1, Medina 5. Corner kicks — Hoban 1, Medina 3. Saves — John Lauterjung (H) 3, Jake Vogrin (M) 1. Records — Hoban (11-3-4), Medina (13-1-4).