COPLEY: The Copley boys soccer team is definitely not a one-trick pony. These Indians have several capable goal-scorers to keep an opponent on edge.
Saturday night, the Indians displayed that yet again in a 2-0 win over visiting Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy in a nonleague match on InfoCision Field at Copley Stadium.
Senior forward Colin Burton and freshman forward Chris Brennan each scored a goal to lift the Indians (8-0) past the Royals (5-4).
Indians sophomore goalkeeper Ameer Mubarak showed off his athleticism by diving and jumping to stop CVCA shots to give Copley its sixth shutout of the season.
“Anytime you’re undefeated, no matter who you play, you are going to have a game,” Copley coach David Antal said. “CVCA continues to be one of the premier teams in the area. I know they are a young team this year, but JT [coach Jon Taylor] does a great job with them and always has them prepared and fit.”
Antal said the Indians have scored 14 goals this season with 10 players scoring at least one.
Copley returns six starters and three other letter winners from last year’s team that was a Division I state semifinalist. Last year’s top goal scorer, Riley Grant, is still enrolled as a student at Copley as a senior, but he is not playing with the team this year because he plays with the International Academy in Northeast Ohio that is in conjunction with U.S. Youth Soccer. St. Vincent-St. Mary senior Robby Dambrot also plays for the International Academy.
“Anytime you can have a player like Riley Grant get that opportunity, it says a lot about your program,” Antal said. “It is tough to not have Riley play on the team. It definitely hurts us. Other players have to step up though.”
Burton stepped up in the 39th minute to give Copley a 1-0 lead with his second goal of the season off a pass from junior midfielder John Harter.
“That was a great connection between my teammate and I,” Burton said. “We locked eyes and I put the ball into the net.”
Brennan extended the Indians’ advantage to 2-0 with his fourth goal of the season in the 61st minute. Harter assisted on that goal, too.
“The game is pretty intense at the varsity level,” Brennan said. “John made a beautiful pass and I took advantage of the opportunity.”
CVCA held an edge in shots on goal (12-8) and corner kicks (3-0), but could get nothing past Mubarak, who made 12 saves.
“I just realize that I have to come out and do the best that I can every game,” Mubarak said. “I try to play to the best of my abilities because that is what my teammates expect out of me.”
Copley senior captains Alan Du and Michael Dichlian were key defensively with senior Aaron Boles and sophomore Holden Torrens. Seniors Brandon Gathagan, Ryan Mattei and Forest Galloway also contributed in starting roles for the Indians with sophomore Skye Harter.