CUYAHOGA FALLS — Add another accolade to the most decorated senior class in Medina County boys soccer history.
What’s next could be even bigger for first-seeded Medina after the Bees knocked out second-seeded Copley 5-1 in the Akron Division I District Final on Saturday.
The win put Medina (14-1-4) in a regional semifinal for the fourth season in a row, a first for the county. It raised the class’ record to 65-7-11 and marked the 10th time the program has reached the Sweet 16.
“Words can’t even describe this program,” senior forward Ian Gummo said. “The team is fantastic. I’m so happy and so lucky to be a part of it. I just can’t wait to see what happens this year.”
If it’s anything like the past two seasons, expect more when the Bees travel to Solon to play Mentor District champion University School (11-6-2) on Wednesday. The Preppers beat Mentor 3-0.
“It’s our mentality,” senior defender Tommy Guta said. “From the beginning of two-a-days until now, the earlier teams have laid the foundation for us.”
The 2015 team reached the Region 2 semifinal before losing 1-0 to Strongsville. In 2016, the Bees fell 3-2 in overtime to St. Ignatius in a state semifinal. Last season, it was a 1-0 double-overtime loss to Beavercreek in the state championship.
Medina has advanced farther every season in the last three years, which means there’s only one thing left to do: Win the whole thing.
“Having everyone coming after us makes us work harder as a team and work harder all around,” forward Mike Kelly said. “Hard work in the offseason makes us better and team bonding makes us better, too.”
The win over the Indians (12-6-1) was one of Medina’s most efficient efforts.
Playing without leading scorer Parker Csiszar, who could have played if needed, the Bees scored four goals on four shots and put things away in the first 25 minutes.
Guta scored on a penalty kick 3:40 in. Kelly and Josh Cabacungan scored within in three minutes of each other and Gummo added the haymaker at 16:26.
“That really just boosted our confidence sky high,” Gummo said. “I don’t think we really expected to come out here and score four goals. We expected to get a goal or two, but coming out and just absolutely destroying them in the first half is absolutely crucial. It set the pace for the second half.”
That second half stayed pretty much status quo after Nnamdi Seukwa scored the final goal for Medina.
Of the four goals that could have had assists, Cole Werthmuller, Seukwa, Oliver O’Cull and Kelly added helpers.
Csiszar is expected to play Wednesday.
“They’ve got a great coach (Simon Spelling),” Copley coach David Antal said. “He’s a great friend of mine. They’ve got kids that fly all over the field. They sprint to every ball. They play us at the beginning of the year undermanned and every kid falls on the ground and gasps for air because they sprint for 80 minutes because they want to win.”
The next step is a date with a University School that isn’t a stranger to late runs.
Last season, the Preppers fell to St. Ignatius 1-0 in the regional final. They have been to the round of 16 in two of the last five seasons and bowed out in the 2016 district finals.
“We just have to play like we did today,” Gummo said. “We’ve been passing the ball really well under the conditions we were given. We’ve been finishing our opportunities. We’ll have Parker back and be at full steam and be ready to rock and roll.”
Medina 5, Copley 1
Akron Division I District Final
COPLEY 1 0 — 1
MEDINA 4 1 — 5
M — Tommy Guta (penalty kick), 36:20.
M — Mike Kelly (Cole Werthmuller), 25:45.
M — Josh Cabacungan (Nnamdi Seukwa), 22:02.
M — Ian Gummo (Oliver O’Cull), 16:26.
C — Josh Davis (penalty kick), 3:27.
M — Seukwa (Kelly), 30:48.
Shots on goal — Copley 3, Medina 8. Corner kicks — Medina 3, Copley 0. Saves — Thomas Leipold (C) 5, Jake Vogrin (M) 1, Ryan Miller (M) 1. Records — Copley (12-6-1), Medina (14-1-4).