STRONGSVILLE — The Brunswick boys soccer team isn’t about to put the cart before the horse, but the wagon is gaining ground on the old mare.
The Greater Cleveland Conference champion Blue Devils gave themselves a bit of a cushion Tuesday by beating Strongsville 3-1 at the Ehrnfelt Soccer Complex.
While there’s still plenty left in league play, the Blue Devils (4-1-1, 3-0) remained the only undefeated team. And with wins over the Mustangs (2-3-3, 1-1-1), Medina (6-1, 2-1) and Shaker Heights (3-4-1, 1-2), there isn’t much left in the GCC that should give Brunswick a challenge.
With Solon, Euclid, Elyria and Mentor remaining, only Elyria (5-3, 1-2) has a winning record, and the Pioneers picked up their first league win Tuesday by beating Euclid.
“I don’t look at it that way,” Brunswick coach Ben Dotson said. “We’re trying to take it one day at a time. To say that we beat the three best teams isn’t really accurate. This is the deepest conference in the state for a reason, and we have to make sure we take it one game at a time.”
While Dotson isn’t ready to give the Blue Devils the title, they’re definitely in the driver’s seat.
That’s why Brunswick’s fourth win over Strongsville in the last five years wasn’t lost on anyone. The Blue Devils also beat Medina and Strongsville in the same season for the first time since 1988.
“It always feels good to win over a rival,” Brunswick defender Kyle Wolf said. “This was a big game in the conference. We’ve been trying to get respect.”
The Blue Devils showed a next-man-up mentality as well. With Jake Hoffmaster starting in place of Antonio Demonte (back), Brunswick looked even more determined to defend its title.
That held true especially for Nick Demonte, who hit another gear. The senior midfielder scored 4:12 in to give Brunswick an early lead.
But anybody who knows much about Strongsville knows the Mustangs don’t give up their home field easily. The tying goal came with authority, as Mo Tayeh rifled a pass from Michael Newmann to knot things 16 minutes before intermission.
The second half was a completely different story, as Nick Demonte showed speed in blowing past a defender to take a pass from Cole Parete and give the Blue Devils the lead for good two minutes in.
“I just gave it my best,” Nick Demonte said. “I didn’t think about that. Nick (Felician) is our guy. I’m just here to do my thing on the field and we came out with a result.”
Collin Parete called his own number on an assist from Wolf eight minutes later to put things out of reach.
After that, Gavyn Ernst and the defense stepped up and shut down the Mustangs. Ernst and Co. have allowed two goals in league play, which is saying something considering the unit lost a four-year starter in net and half its defense to graduation.
“Aaron (Ogorzaly) is the glue,” Dotson said. “He’s been a varsity player for two years, and he’s been hurt the whole time. You saw a glimpse vs. Shaker, but adding him in the center back position where we lost Ben (Clouse) was a really big piece. It’s been nearly seamless.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brunswick 3, Strongsville 1
BRUNSWICK 1 2 — 3
STRONGSVILLE 1 0 — 1
B — Nick Demonte, 35:48.
S — Mo Tayeh (Michael Neumann), 16:34.
B — Demonte (Cole Parete), 37:24.
B — Collin Parete (Kyle Wolf), 29:34.
Shots on goal — Brunswick 9, Strongsville 7. Corner kicks — Brunswick 1, Strongsville 2. Saves — Gavyn Ernst (B) 6, Nolan Kellogg (S) 6. Records — Brunswick (4-1-1, 3-0), Strongsville (2-3-3, 1-1-1). Junior varsity — Strongsville 3, Brunswick 0.