Medina boys soccer coach Simon Spelling has had the recipe for success for a while.
It’s not about finding someone to fill up the net with three goals a game, but rather putting together the right combination and keeping anyone from scoring on the Bees.
In three straight regional postseason runs, Medina has logged 37 shutouts, including 12 this season.
The Bees (15-1-5) head into their second straight Division I state semifinal against St. Ignatius (15-3-3) with two keepers more than capable of getting the job done in Tyler Glasenapp and Alex Stan.
“I have two tall bananas back there,” Spelling said. “One has certain attributes better than the other and the other has certain attributes better than the other. As a unit, they’re very, very good.”
Both stand 6-foot-4, but look more like 7-footers between the pipes.
Glasenapp has started twice as many games (14) for Medina this season, but Stan has five more saves (39).
The two have combined to pick up postseason shutouts against Copley in a 2-0 Medina District final and repeated the feat against Sylvania Northview in a 1-0 Region 2 final over the weekend.
Glasenapp, who has allowed eight goals, has been a part of 7½ shutouts.
Stan, who has allowed three goals, has logged 4½ clean slates.
“We know they’re going to be there every time for us,” defender Tommy Guta said. “They’re huge and can win every ball in the air and that helps.
“Usually teams have one good goalie. We have two here and it’s great. We can put one in if the other isn’t doing as good.”
The best part of the quandary is that it isn’t a quandary at all.
Guta, Brandon Leckie, Andrew Horton and Mike Kelly feel confident as the last line of defense.
The duo’s performance also gives holding midfielders Steve Samuelson and Riley Furey the freedom to push up if they feel the need.
“We have two great goalies,” Leckie said. “Many teams don’t have that, but we’re blessed to have both of them. It’s nice.”
Competition is the key to elevating an athlete’s level and the two have seemed to raise their game as the season goes along.
Some of that comes with facing topline opponents, but some of it is a product of the daily battles the two wage every day of the season with each other.
“There definitely is a competition,” Glasenapp said. “But we’ve played together for the last four or five years and we’re always pushing each other. You’ve seen this season that we’ve been coming in and out. Honestly, it just comes down to who is doing the best at practice this week. I like to be as humble as I possibly can and when I see him come up with a big save it means a ton to me.”
The most compelling part of the duo’s success is there isn’t animosity.
While some might scoff at another’s accomplishments, the two are not only friends, but each other’s best critic.
Both cheer on the other and are ready with advice and congratulations.
“There’s a friendship, but it’s also very competitive,” Stan said. “When you have a competitive environment at practice, it pushes both of us to be the best we can be. That’s why neither of us have the opportunity to slack off. We both have to stay in top shape because Coach Spelling knows he can put either one of us in.”
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.