The scene has replayed thousands of times in the minds of Medina boys soccer players.
Beavercreek’s Dominic Calabrese slides a ball to Ryan Bernt and Bernt scores in the Division I state final early in the second overtime to lift the Beavers 1-0.
Ian Gummo walked over to Parker Csiszar and said, “Park, you have two more years and I have one. We will be back next year, but we will be in Beavercreek’s spot with the gold trophy.”
Nothing has changed in the last nine months to sway that attitude, and if Gummo and Co. have anything to say about it, the only difference will be the color of hardware at the end.
“We made it to state, so it’s kind of like a progression thing, I guess (Medina lost in the state semifinals in 2016),” Gummo said. “We just have to keep going. The motivation is definitely there. Seeing that we made the state final and lost, we want to keep going and win that state final. We have a good chance. We have to work on things. That’s why we’re practicing, but throughout the season with our team chemistry, I think we’ll do well.”
There’s no question the Bees lost a ton, but there’s also no question Medina always brings a winning attitude under veteran coach Simon Spelling.
In the eyes of Parker Csiszar, Mike Kelly, Gavin Csiszar, Steve Samuelson, Tommy Guta, Grayson Madden, Cole Werthmuller and Gummo, it’s not a question of what happens if they fall short, but why can’t they win it all.
All played on the 2017 team and all know what it takes to get back.
“We definitely have a lot of pressure on our backs,” Madden said. “We have to prove ourselves that we’re as good as we have been in the past, if not better. Every day practice is intense — we’re working hard to get back where we were — but a lot is expected out of us.
“With the kids we have, we can guide the team to a state championship. We were disappointed at the end of our season, but we’re hungry again. We want to win. We’re coming out for glory.”
Only one team can win a state final, and at Medina, where success is expected instead of hoped for, the Bees want to improve upon their 16-2-5 mark from a season ago.
“We have to keep up with our expectations,” Parker Csiszar said. “Every team is going to come after us. We just have to keep playing well. We’re getting used to it, but we still have to play hard.
“We’re hungrier because we want to win the state championship. The feeling of playing in the state finals was crazy. I’ve thought about it a lot. I want to win the state championship by my senior year and I feel like I can do it this year.”
The best part about the returning letterwinners is there’s a youthful exuberance. While Madden, Guta and Gummo are seniors, Parker Csiszar and Kelly are juniors and Gavin Csiszar, Werthmuller and Samuelson are sophomores.
“It helps a ton because they were young last year and now they have that experience,” Guta said. “They’ll do well and help the core of the team. Just staying together as a team and working together game by game will help. We’re just going to roll off of last year and pick up right where we left off.”
That experience should help as Medina never plays a schedule that brings false hope. It all starts Friday with last season’s district finalist, Copley. Brunswick, Northview, Hudson, Archbishop Hoban, Wadsworth and Strongsville also are on a loaded schedule that should only help the Bees.
“We’ve got some experience,” Spelling said. “I hope that will translate into some leadership on the field and in tight situations there will be a way we can find our way out.”
Boys soccer is perennially strong in Medina County, but 2017 may have set a standard that will be tough to beat.
Medina is fresh off a Division I state-runner-up finish.
Brunswick (Greater Cleveland Conference), Wadsworth (Suburban League National Conference) and Buckeye (Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division) are coming off league championships and ready to take the next step.
Here’s a look at the six area teams:
Coach: Ben Dotson (9th overall, 6th at Brunswick, 84-54-23 record).
Last season: 12-4-2, 7-0 (1st Greater Cleveland Conference).
Key letterwinners lost: Nick Felician (Gazette MVP), Antonio Demonte (All-Gazette), Kyle Wolf (All-Gazette honorable mention), Nick Demonte (All-Gazette HM).
Letterwinners: Aaron Ogorzaly (All-Gazette HM, D, sr.), Sean Tarbuck (D, sr.), Nathan Bohrer (All-GCC, D, sr.), Garrett Shay (M, sr.), Collin Parete (F, sr.), Ryan McConnell (D, sr.), Tyler Brosky (M, sr.), Ryan Utrup (M, sr.), Justin Hagler (All-Gazette, M, jr.), Andrew Miranda (M, jr.), Tyler Hudy (F, jr.), Ryan Craska (M, jr.), Cole Parete (All-Gazette HM, M, so.), Gavyn Ernst (GK, so.).
Newcomers: Nate Musto (D, sr.), Jake Delrio (M, jr.), Robert Gruber (D, jr.), Logan Scherer (M, so.), Zach Jernecic (D, so.), Timmy Gronert (D, fr.).
Noteworthy: While the loss of Felician, who holds the school record for career points (142) and assists (34) and finished second in goals (54), is huge, Parete and Hagler should be able to stem the tide.
l The Blue Devils should shine with Ernst in goal, who tied the freshman record for wins (12).
Coach: Joe Serio (6th season, 54-24-12 record).
Last season: 14-4-1, 9-0 (1st Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division, Elyria Division II District runner-up).
Key letterwinners lost: Shaye Joyce (All-Gazette), Kyle Haberkorn (All-Gazette), Connor Clark (All-Gazette HM).
Letterwinners: Tyler Miranda (All-Gazette HM, M, sr.), Zach Ridler (GK, sr.), Jordan Bell (M, sr.), Mason Clutter (D, sr.), Eddie Greer (M, sr.), Adam Matras (D, sr.), Austin Grayzanic (F, sr.), Ben Widows (D, sr.), Dan Thoryk (M, jr.), Clay Gunkelman (D, jr.), Jack Waters (M, jr.).
Newcomers: Shane Capela (M, jr.), Jacob Emrock (M, jr.), Peter Derksen (D, so.), Justin Rupanovic (D, jr.), Kaiden Whitford (M, jr.), Gavin Beck (M, so.), Nino Brunst (F/M, fr.), Chase Miller (M, fr.).
Noteworthy: Serio lost top scorers Joyce (12 goals, 19 assists), Haberkorn (17, 7) and Miranda (10, 5) but is strong defensively.
l Ridler returns after not allowing a PAC goal last season.
Coach: Aaron Cummings (1st season, 0-0 record).
Last season: 2-15, 0-7 (8th Portage Trail Conference Metro Division).
Key letterwinners lost: None.
Letterwinners: Anthony Gorczyca (M, sr.), Tyler Wilker (F/M, sr.), Kenny Jenkins (M, sr.), Bradley Lepin (M, sr.), Frank English (M, sr.), Carson Billy (F/GK, jr.), Thomas Lormeau (D, jr.), Bryce Betts (F/M, jr.), Derrick Patton (D, jr.), Zander Baughman (D, so.), Marcus Birth (F/M, so.), Cole Yagersz (D, so.), Hunter Casto (F, so.), Nolan McNeal (M, so.), Adam Stallard (D, so.).
Newcomers: Jacoby King (F, jr.), Cameron Galla (D, fr.) Daniel Jervis (M, fr.), Steven Manbeck (M/D, fr.), Austin Cummings (M, fr.), Ben Kott (D, fr.), Joe Donnelly (F/GK, fr.), Craig Scandlon (D, fr.) Patrick McConnell (M, fr.), Andrew Sheck (M, fr.).
Noteworthy: The bad news for the Colts is they have won only five games in the past two seasons. The good news is the future looks strong. Ten of the 15 letterwinners are underclassmen and the roster also includes 15 freshmen or sophomores.
Coach: Denny Ciornei (1st season, 0-0).
Last season: 6-11, 3-3 (4th Suburban League American Conference).
Key letterwinner lost: Nick Surowicz (All-Gazette).
Letterwinners: Eli Fragnoli (All-Gazette HM, F, sr.), Christian Heini (All-Gazette HM, M, sr.), Ben Petersen (GK, sr.), Christopher Sollenberger (D, sr.), Tyler Madison (F/M/D, sr.), Andras Fabian (M, sr.), Ben Schaefer (M, sr.), Jacob Gallaspie (F, sr.), Justin Tepes (D, jr.), Ryan Giggiano (D, jr.), Cole Koch (F/M, sr.).
Newcomers: Aiden Godlaski (D, sr.), Conner Kline (D, sr.), Grant Klapwijk (M/D, sr.), Trent Thomas (D, jr.), Zander Throckmorton (GK, jr.).
Noteworthy: Fragnoli (5 goals, 3 assists) and Fabian (4, 2) should help Ciornei in his first season.
l Highland should be strong with Petersen back in goal. Ciornei is a former professional keeper, so expect the senior to come back even stronger.
Coach: Simon Spelling (5th season, 11th overall, 135-44-21).
Last season: 16-2-5, 4-1-2 (2nd Greater Cleveland Conference, D-I state runner-up).
Key letterwinners lost: Andy Prostor (All-Gazette), Tyler Glasenapp (All-Gazette), Andrew Horton (All-Gazette), Brandon Leckie (All-Gazette), Alex Stan (All-Gazette HM), Riley Furey (All-Gazette HM).
Letterwinners: Ian Gummo (All-Gazette HM, F, sr.), Grayson Madden (D, sr.), Tommy Guta (M, sr.), Parker Csiszar (All-Gazette, M, jr.), Mike Kelly (D, jr.), Gavin Csiszar (M, so.), Cole Werthmuller (M, so.), Steve Samuelson (M, so.).
Newcomers: Brendan DeLac (GK, sr.), Oliver O’Cull (D, sr.), Jake Vogrin (GK, jr.), Mason Provost (M, jr.), Josh Cabacungan (M, jr.), Ben Davis (D, jr.), Noah Field (D, jr.), Alex Deidu (D, jr.), Blake Febus (D, jr.), Ryan Miller (GK, so.).
Noteworthy: Spelling doesn’t expect his team to take a step back from its state final appearance. That said, the Bees will need to jell early on defense to ensure a solid season. Look for Medina to be strong by midseason and stronger at the end.
Coach: John Johnson (22nd season, 30th overall, 196-102-18 record).
Last season: 14-2, 6-1 (1st Suburban League National Conference).
Key letterwinners lost: Ben Arnold (All-Gazette), Josiah Sovine (All-Gazette), Connor Mendel (All-Gazette), Tyler Randolph (All-Gazette HM), Matt Studenic (All-Gazette HM).
Letterwinners: Kai Wagner (All-Gazette, M, sr.), Seth Beldean (M, sr.), Noah Porter (GK, sr.), Max Lenc (F, sr.), Owen Porpora (D, sr.), David Chirumbole (All-Gazette, M, jr.), Chase Rodgers (F, jr.), Mason Warholic (M, jr.), Brayden Humphrey (D, jr.).
Newcomers: Jacob Brown (D, sr.), Austin Trout (F, sr.), Ben Bebee (D, jr.), Ethan Madden (M, jr.), Joseph Muhl (M, jr.), Tyler Cramblett (F, jr.), James Harwick (M, jr.), Connor Margo (GK, jr.), Max Runkle (D, jr.), Austin Batey (M, so.), Aiden Mendel (D, so.), Nick Young (D, so.), Jacob Machar (D, so.), Kam Wagner (M, fr.).
Noteworthy: After a fantastic senior group left, Johnson must find someone to take over for Randolph, who posted 12 shutouts and highlighted a defense that allowed only eight goals.
l While the Grizzlies lost a ton of offense, they shouldn’t skip a beat with Wagner (7 goals, 7 assists) and Chirumbole (4, 0) leading the charge.