BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick girls soccer team knows where it stands in the district landscape after a 4-0 Greater Cleveland Conference loss to Strongsville on Wednesday.
Now, it’s up to the Blue Devils (4-3-2, 0-2-1) to close that gap before the Medina Division I District starts in roughly five weeks.
With conference losses to Medina (8-0-1, 3-0) and the Mustangs (5-0-2, 3-0) this season, the reigning district champs know the climb they’ll have to make.
“Defeat makes us work hard because we know what to expect coming in,” Brunswick defender Kristen Zima said. “It just makes us place better. Last year, we brought what the other team used into our practices and we realized we needed to work harder and try harder.”
In defense of the Blue Devils, they’re still missing Sammy Grabowski (ankle), Caylee Jozefov (knee) and Alexa Mackey (knee).
Compound that with keeper Gabbi Campbell playing in just her third varsity game and there’s room to grow for Brunswick.
While it might not be optimal for Brunswick in terms of the league race, Blue Devils coach Scott Ward and Co. know the best is yet to come for his team.
While Strongsville holds an 7-0-2 advantage in the last 11 seasons, it’s not about the right now for Brunswick as it is about playing well and reaching its third straight district final.
“Our team, each individual player, is not healthy,” Blue Devils midfielder Katherine Camper said. “The longer we have to heal, the better we’ll get.
“The fact we’re even competing right now, although it may seem like we aren’t in a 4-0 loss, if anyone was watching, the game was still close until those last few minutes it was a pretty even match. We can take what we learned when we face them again. We’ll be healthy then and we’ll be able to bring back our starting lineup.”
Playing against a Strongsville team ranked third in the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association and 17th nationally in the TopDrawerSoccer.com poll, Brunswick fell behind 2-0 in the first 20 minutes on goals by Northern Kentucky recruit Kayla Wypasek and Cincinnati pledge Vanessa DiNardo.
While there was still plenty of time to get back into things, the two-goal advantage paid dividends immediately for the Mustangs.
“Had we been able to score the first two, it gives us all the momentum,” Ward said. “Maybe it wakes them up. We just didn’t have the power to push back.
“We’ve had nine goals scored against us by two of the better teams in our district. There’s no, ‘Yeah, but,” situation. You look at our district and there’s Strongsville, Copley, Medina, North Royalton. You can’t have a bad game. We need to improve starting tomorrow.”
Lost in the scoring outburst by the Mustangs was a defense that gave Ferris State commit Nora Potter her third consecutive shutout in the GCC.
Brunswick managed just three shots on frame, although Maddy Grabowski did have a shot go off the crossbar.
“Tonight, their defense was very good,” Ward said. “I don’t know how many shots we have on goal, but all the way through, they did well with it.”
The junior varsity game finished 0-0. Ally McLelland picked up the shutout for the Blue Devils.
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strongsville 4, Brunswick 0
STRONGSVILLE 2 2 — 4
BRUNSWICK 0 0 — 0
S — Kayla Wypasek, 22:48.
S — Vanessa DiNardo (Lauren Rakytiak), 19:08.
S — DiNardo, 23:29.
S — Sabrini Ortenzi (April Gaukin), 12:37.
Shots on goal — Strongsville 13, Brunswick 3. Corner kicks — Strongsville 3, Brunswick 3. Saves — Nora Potter (S) 3, Gabbi Campbell (B) 9. Records — Strongsville (5-0-2, 3-0), Brunswick (4-3-2, 0-2-1). Junior varsity — Brunswick 0, Strongsville 0.