SOLON — Move over, Reggie, there’s a new Mr. October.
While Cole Werthmuller will likely never earn the accolades on the boy soccer pitch that Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson did in baseball, the sophomore is becoming quite a power for Medina in the postseason.
The forward was at it again Wednesday, leading the Bees to a 3-0 win over Mentor District champion University School in a Division I, Region 1 semifinal.
Medina (15-1-4) will play Stow (16-2-2) on Saturday at a time and location to be determined. The Bulldogs beat North Canton Hoover 3-0.
“I just feel like I’m doing my job,” Werthmuller said. “I have to come out and perform for my team. We have to win to survive, and I just try to do the best I can.”
Werthmuller has had plenty of hero experience for the Bees during the last two postseasons.
As a freshman, Werthmuller scored the game-winner in a 2-0 state semifinal victory over three-time reigning champion St. Ignatius.
Fast forward to this season and Werthmuller has been the man of the minute, hour, week and month.
The reigning Gazette Athlete of the Week scored both goals in a 2-0 Akron Sectional final against Firestone and registered an assist in a 5-1 district championship against Copley.
Against the Preppers (11-7-2), Werthmuller was up to his same old tricks, putting in the game-winner with 16:12 left in the first half off an assist from Josh Cabacungan.
“We all know how to score and have some dynamic scorers,” Cabacungan said. “Cole is a real good scorer. If you give him the ball, he’ll score. That goal was huge. The longer a game goes 0-0, the more confidence the opponent has. That first goal deflates them.”
The second goal really put Medina over the top, as Steve Samuelson took a deflected ball after a shot by Cabacungan and beat Michael Zemanek.
That came with 22:26 left and was followed eight minutes later by a score from Mike Kelly, off an assist from Greater Cleveland Conference Player of the Year Parker Csiszar.
“The second goal is always key,” said Medina coach Simon Spelling, whose team played in front of University of Akron coach Jared Embick. “Anything can happen on a wet, slippery field. Getting that insurance goal is critical. We deserved it.”
As always, the defense of Blake Febus, Grayson Madden, Tommy Guta and Ben Davis was spot on. The back line has given up 11 goals and shut out opponents 12 times.
U.S. managed just one shot, on a direct kick from 29 yards in the second half.
With Jake Vogrin in net, the Bees have only allowed one goal in four postseason games.
“The playoffs are about small margins,” Spelling said. “If you don’t let up a goal, you can’t lose. That’s why we want to get shutouts. It was a solid performance.”
When the Bees face Stow, don’t expect there to be many nerves. Medina will be playing in its third straight regional final. The Bees won by a combined 4-1 in the first two.
“It definitely eases the nerves,” Medina defender Grayson Madden said. “We have to come out wanting to win. Nothing changes no matter how many times we are in a regional final. We have to come out and play the best game we can.”
Nothing is a given against Stow, which comes in riding an eight-game winning streak. The Bulldogs average 3.4 goals, have outscored opponents 12-2 in the postseason and will play in their first regional final since 2006.
“We have to come out strong like we did against Copley (in a 5-1 win),” Bees midfielder Gavin Csiszar said. “This game we started slow. We picked it up, but we can’t let that happen against them.”
Medina 3, University School 0
Region 1 Semifinal
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL 0 0 — 0
MEDINA 1 2 — 3
M — Cole Werthmuller (Josh Cabacungan), 16:12.
M — Steve Samuelson, 22:26.
M — Mike Kelly (Parker Csiszar),14:13.
Shots on goal — University School 1, Medina 9. Corner kicks — University School 2, Medina 6. Saves — Michael Zemanek (US) 6, Jake Vogrin (M) 1. Records — University School (11-7-2), Medina (15-1-4).
- So we meet again: St. Ignatius, Medina boys set to lock horns in state semifinals
- Man in the middle: Sophomore Gavin Csiszar directs Medina boys on pitch
- Foreign power: Exchange student Nnamdi Seukwa rises to varsity in time for Medina's playoff run
- Senior moment: Medina class of 2019's legacy grows with another district crown