WADSWORTH — Everyone is trying to knock off the top-ranked team in the state. That’s something Medina’s girls soccer team is well aware of.
It was no different Saturday night, as the Bees won a physical, hard-fought 2-0 match against a Wadsworth team playing without two stars at Art Wright Stadium.
Medina (7-0-1) had to avoid the letdown that typically follows after a big win like the five-goal triumph over rival Brunswick earlier in the week.
It took a half of the non-league game, but the Bees did.
“We made a slight tactical adjustment, but it was really more an adjustment of mindset and approach,” Medina coach Doug Coreno said. “We talked before the game about how we’re coming off of some big games and a big conference win (against Brunswick), and you have to guard against that so-called hangover game.
“I think we came out in the first half and played like that, but we adjusted in the second half. Give the kids credit.”
The Grizzlies (5-2), who were playing without talented midfielders Emily Arellano and Tori Baker, tested goalkeeper Tori DeLappi (4 saves) on numerous occasions.
Despite that, Medina drew a handful of key fouls in the final 16 minutes of the opening half, resulting in junior Tarah Roller breaking the scoreless deadlock with 15:42 remaining.
The second half was when the Bees settled in with a handful of quality looks, including an insurance score from Haley Anspach on a ball played ahead by Payton Beech that all but solidified to the victory.
“It’s a great feeling,” Anspach said. “They were a really good team. Even without two of their best players, they still brought a lot of intensity, and we just fought until the end to get the win.”
With Wadsworth constantly charging throughout the first 50 minutes, Medina used 21 players to wear down its opponent, including Aliese Pedro and Madison Luthy making their first varsity appearances and backup keeper Emma Bulan seeing time at forward.
“We had the mindset that we were going to use a lot of kids tonight,” Coreno said. “Some kids got some extended minutes, including two JV players, and it was nice to see the depth come through tonight.”
The Bees, who have not lost in 44 straight regular-season games, had four of their five shots on goal in the second half, including two from Kirsten Gormley in the closing minutes. One hit the crossbar and the other saved was by Jordan Barnhart (4 saves).
The game was one of missed opportunities for the Grizzlies, who had nothing to show for 11 shots (4 on goal). Down 1-0, Teddi Farson had an attempt go just wide in the closing seconds of the first and Katy Andrews’ header two minutes into the second was knocked down by DeLappi. The rebound was snuffed away by a host of defenders.
“We knew we weren’t going to have a ton of chances, and if we could take advantage of one or two opportunities, it could’ve made a difference in the game,” Wadsworth coach Paul Williford said. “We knew that they had something to prove and they wanted to make sure that everyone knows that they’re No. 1 and you have to take it from there, but that’s tough to do. They’re a good team.”
Arellano is done for the season with an ACL injury, while Baker will start physical therapy today before being reevaluated.
“I told the girls that this should tell you that you can play with anybody,” Williford said. “You have to be on and you have to work, but you can play with anybody we face. This should give us the confidence moving forward.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 2, Wadsworth 0
MEDINA 1 1 — 2
WADSWORTH 0 0 — 0
M — Tara Roller (penalty kick), 15:42.
M — Haley Anspach (Payton Beech), 22:08.
Shots on goal — Medina 5, Wadsworth 4. Corner kicks — Medina 2, Wadsworth 2. Saves — Tori DeLappi (M) 4, Jordan Barnhart (W) 4. Records — Medina (7-0-1), Wadsworth (5-2). Junior varsity — Medina 2, Wadsworth 1.