NORTH ROYALTON — Heroes are made when the Medina and Copley boys soccer teams play in a district final.
The list grew when Bees freshman holding midfielder Steve Samuelson scored his first career goal.
It came in a 2-0 Medina Division I District final win Saturday over the fourth-seeded Indians and pushed second-seeded Medina to its third straight regional appearance.
The fact Samuelson wasn’t called up to the parent club until the postseason makes his game-winning goal even more of a headliner.
Samuelson’s theatrics came off a Parker Csiszar corner kick with 31:12 remaining and was the catalyst for the third consecutive district final win over the Indians (11-4-4).
“I went into the game and I was thinking I was just going to move the ball around and help our team progress,” he said. “When I saw the opportunity, I just stuck my foot up and it went in.”
The goal wasn’t as simple as that, as the ball had to clear a defender’s head getting to Samuelson, who took it off the outside of his right foot.
The ball ricocheted like a rocket, giving Alec Srodawa no chance to make the save.
Ian Gummo made the lead stick with a goal on a pass from Mike Kelly three minutes later, but Samuelson will have the Bees (13-1-5) talking until they play Elyria District winner Olmsted Falls (18-1) on Wednesday.
Senior forward Andy Prostor knows about scoring game-winners in the district finals after beating Copley 3-2 in double-overtime two years ago. It was Prostor’s first career game-winner.
“He’s going to remember it until he’s 40,” Prostor said. “When they asked me what my favorite memory was on senior night, it’s always going to be that goal I scored as an underclassman, and he’s got a year on me. He scored as a freshman, and he just scored the winning goal against a team we’re (five) years running in the district final. It’s an incredible feeling. I hope he remembers it until he dies.”
The victory pushed Medina’s record to 5-0-1 against the Indians in the past three seasons and was the third straight win.
That played a big role, as the Bees came in already knowing the Indians were going to give them anything they had.
“They feel like they’re getting harder and harder,” Medina defender Andrew Horton said of the district title. “They’ve been getting better and better and we’ve been getting better and better. It’s always a battle. We’ve just been lucky to come out three times in a row. Coach (Simon Spelling) just expects it out of us. All year we battle to be here and get even further every year.”
Speaking of rematches, Wednesday’s regional semifinal with Olmsted Falls is a sequel to a 2016 Region 2 semifinal.
In that one, the Bulldogs came in undefeated at 16-0-3 and were overwhelmed 4-0.
This time, Medina faces an Olmsted Falls squad on a 16-game winning streak and one that hasn’t lost since a 1-0 Southwestern Conference defeat to Westlake on Aug. 26.
“We just can’t go in cocky,” Gummo said. “We just have to go in like it’s a new game with a new mentality. We have to go in the same way we came in here, focused and ready to play.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 2, Copley 0
Medina Division I District Final
COPLEY 0 0 — 0
MEDINA 0 2 — 2
M — Steve Samuelson (Parker Csiszar), 31:12.
M — Ian Gummo (Mike Kelly), 27:56.
Shots on goal — Copley 7, Medina 2. Corner kicks — Copley 5, Medina 2. Saves — Alec Srodawa (C) 0, Alex Stan (M) 7. Records — Copley (11-4-4), Medina (13-1-5).