BRUNSWICK — Medina County soccer fans were eventually treated to a clash of two of the top Division I girls teams in the state Wednesday night at Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium.
Following an hour delay for inclement weather, Medina got a fast goal from junior Haley Anspach and made the lead hold up with a fantastic defensive effort for a 1-0 victory over the Blue Devils in Greater Cleveland Conference action.
“It was a great result for us,” Bees coach Doug Coreno said. “Brunswick is a very talented team with something to prove. To go on the road in this heat and get the win is impressive.”
Freshman Riley Kerber got Medina (5-0-1, 2-0) off to the fast start when she lobbed the ball ahead to Anspach, a midfielder, with less than five minutes expired in the game. The Indiana recruit nailed the ball into the back of the net to give the Bees a 1-0 lead.
“We knew that they had a chip on their shoulders from last year, when they lost 5-0,” Anspach said. “We had to come in big and strong to pull out the win against them because they are a really good team. We needed to get one early to get in their heads.”
Medina entered the contest ranked sixth in Division I by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils (4-1-1, 1-1) were ranked ninth in the first poll of the 2018 season. Both teams are also ranked in the top 40 nationally by TopDrawerSoccer.com, with the Bees sitting 36th and Brunswick coming in 32nd.
Medina controlled much of the first half, keeping the ball in Brunswick’s end for the majority of the 40 minutes. The Bees carried a 6-0 shots-on-goal advantage into halftime and took five corner kicks to just one for Brunswick.
“(Our defense) is very talented and it starts with our two center backs, Tori Lyncha and Katie Neate, who play 80 minutes a game for us,” Coreno said. “Then we’ve got a handful of kids that stay composed and staying organized. They did a great job not conceding any goals.”
The Blue Devils broke into the Medina defense with just over 10 minutes left in the game. Midfielder Gigi Ricciardi sent a high, bending corner kick off the head of senior Emily Kazimore, but goalie Belle Wagner made the save. The freshman stopped all three of Brunswick’s scoring opportunities over the last 10 minutes to preserve the lead.
“We started off pressing too much, too anxious and too filled with adrenaline,” Blue Devils coach Scott Ward said. “We are a possession team, or we try to be, and we came out like that and gave them an advantage. We can’t be shaky like that against a team like Medina.”
Defensively, Brunswick was able to keep Tennessee recruit Maria Nelson (8 goals) off the board, with senior Mariah Kimble marking her and Maddy Grabowski covering when Nelson found space.
Medina 1, Brunswick 0
MEDINA 1 0 — 1
BRUNSWICK 0 0 — 0
M — Haley Anspach (Riley Kerber), 35:37.
Shots on goal — Medina 10, Brunswick 3. Corner kicks — Medina 7, Brunswick 2. Saves — Sammy Grabowski (B) 9, Belle Wagner (M) 3. Records — Medina (5-0-1, 2-0), Brunswick (4-1-1, 1-1).