MEDINA — The pomp was there Friday night. The Medina boys soccer team made sure the circumstances put the Bees’ faithful in a good mood.
With the marching band performing before, during and after the game and well over 100 youth soccer players introduced at halftime, the chance to celebrate was palpable at Medina Memorial Stadium.
The Bees made sure everyone in green and white went home happy with a 3-1 non-league win over Copley in both teams’ season opener.
The victory marked the fourth win in the last five meetings with the Indians and gave an early statement. Medina has knocked Copley out of the district finals in each of the last two seasons and in three of the last four and holds an 8-4-2 advantage in the last 14 meetings.
“We wanted to get a result tonight,” Bees coach Simon Spelling said. “We haven’t got a result in preseason (they were 0-3). The boys were lacking a bit of confidence.
“Pretty soccer is going to come at some point. This is a big game. We just needed to get a result and the boys responded. They got back in the game, changed the momentum at the start of the second half.”
Medina went into halftime down a goal after Evan Malpass scored 10 minutes in. Copley dominated much of the first half, but came out after intermission and found an entirely different Medina beast.
That beast’s name was Andy Prostor, who has heard all about how down Medina was supposed to be after losing Will Turrittin and first-team All-Ohio forward Justin Libertowski.
Prostor assisted Mike Kelly on his first career goal to tie things five minutes into the second half and then scored two goals in the final 20 minutes, taking passes from Brandon Leckie and Parker Csiszar.
“We expect that from our seniors,” Spelling said. “It was Andy today, but it could be Andrew Horton tomorrow or Riley Furey. We have a lot of seniors on the team. Some of them have experience, some of them don’t, but we expect them to make a contribution. Andy did what we expected him to do.”
Double- and triple-teamed most of the evening, Prostor found his creases and when given the space, came through.
“It was a huge statement,” Prostor said. “We lost (Libertowski), who scored 38 goals last season. I had some big shoes to fill and our team itself had some big shoes to fill and we’ve done it.
“It was a big challenge. (Spelling) put the best players he could on the field and it was a statement.”
Almost as impressive as Prostor’s night was the showing by the defense. With Tyler Glasenapp returning as a starter in goal and Grayson Madden, Tom Guta, Brandon Leckie and Horton back as letterwinners, the goal was to find cohesion early.
Madden and Leckie were starters last season and Guta and Horton picked up where the outgoing seniors left off as Copley managed just two more shots on goal after Malpass’ score. They came late and one was off a set piece, but both times Glasenapp was there to deflect the ball.
“Defense was huge,” Kelly said. “They locked down the back. Our midfield wasn’t getting back in time, so we needed our defense to step up a bit and knock down plays. We don’t mess around. This is a big rival. We always want to win.”
With the Ohio High School Athletic Association highlighting Friday Night Futbol this week, the schools pushed the junior varsity game to today. The two will go at it at Memorial Stadium at 1 p.m.
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 3, Copley 1
COPLEY 1 0 — 1
MEDINA 0 3 — 3
C — Evan Malpass (Adam Diefendorff), 30:10.
M — Mike Kelly (Andy Prostor), 34:44.
M — Prostor (Brandon Leckie), 17:21.
M — Prostor (Parker Csiszar), 14:35.
Shots on goal — Copley 3, Medina 4. Corner kicks — Copley 2, Medina 3. Saves — Alec Srodowa (C) 1, Tyler Glasenapp (M) 2. Records — Copley (0-1), Medina (1-0).