NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Gavin Csiszar has scored two goals for the Medina boys soccer team this season.
The other certainly wasn’t bigger than his game-winner.
With the Bees faithful leaning on every pass in a Division I state semifinal against St. Ignatius on Wednesday, the sophomore shot his school into its second straight final with a goal 1:12 into the extra session for a 1-0 win.
“This is the craziest moment of my life,” Csiszar said. “I have no words. I really don’t even know what I saw on the shot. It just popped out and the lefty (shot) came and it went in. I was so shocked. It’s such a good feeling. I didn’t expect this at all.”
Neither did a strong St. Ignatius crowd at Ranger Stadium, as the Bees (17-1-4) knocked out the Wildcats (18-2-2) for the second straight season.
Medina moves on to play Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller (19-1-3) on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium. It will be the first trip to Columbus for Moeller.
The game-winner was set up by a Parker Csiszar pass into the box that found Josh Cabacungan. Heavily defended, Cabacungan squirted the ball to Gavin Csiszar at the top of the box.
Gavin Csiszar rifled a left-footer to the left side against a helpless Peter Van Euwen in net.
“We have some players with some pedigree, and Gavin is one of them,” Medina coach Simon Spelling said. “They play up to the event. We have five or six players that play up to the event. Today, it was Gavin Csiszar. Other days, it’s been Josh Cabacungan. Other days, it’s been Mike Kelly. Other days, it’s Parker.
“I think we have a team that as long as someone steps up, we’re confident if we get the shut out, we’ll win the game. That’s what happened tonight.”
Facing a team that had 101 goals without being shut out, Medina’s poise was incredible.
While the Bees caught a couple of breaks with a Kory Nekoloff shot hitting the post in the first half and an Everett Shorey shot drawing the left post in the second half, Medina was up to the task.
St. Ignatius’ high-pressure offense jumped on the Bees, but they stood strong every time.
As a result, TopDrawerSoccer.com’s sixth-ranked team in the nation will watch the final at home for the second straight season.
“They weren’t letting us near the goal,” Wildcats coach Mike McLaughlin said. “We did get a few chances. We hit the post, but their defense was tremendous. What they did defensively was get behind the ball and make it difficult to get behind them. That’s a great credit to their defense. They played outstanding.”
While St. Ignatius had a number of shots, only two needed to be saved by Jake Vogrin.
Vogrin, Ben Davis, Grayson Madden, Wes Mansier, Steve Samuelson, Tommy Guta and Blake Febus took the Wildcats’ best and stepped up.
It was a total team effort, with Kelly, Ian Gummo and Nnamdi Seukwa helping out when needed.
“It was crazy,” Davis said. “In the first half, we had a little trouble getting back behind the ball. Coach always preaches bend but don’t break. That’s what we did tonight. We fought hard as a team. I love everybody on this team.”
The victory puts Medina in a familiar spot, as it heads back to the former Columbus Crew Stadium with the hope of erasing a sour memory from last season, when the Bees fell to Beavercreek 1-0 in double overtime.
This time the opponent is a Moeller team that knocked out Olentangy Liberty (18-3) 1-0 in overtime.
“This was the second-biggest game of the season, and now it’s onto the next one,” Cabacungan said. “We played hard. We worked for it all season. I’m just happy.”
Medina 1, St. Ignatius 0 (OT)
Division I State Semifinal
MEDINA 0 0 1 — 1
ST. IGNATIUS 0 0 0 — 0
M — Gavin Csiszar (Josh Cabacungan), 13:48.
Shots on goal — Medina 3, St. Ignatius 2. Corner kicks — Medina 2, St. Ignatius 6. Saves — Jake Vogrin (M) 2, Peter Van Euwen (SI) 2. Records — Medina (17-1-4), St. Ignatius (18-2-2).
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