MACEDONIA: With their collective backs against the wall, the Revere Minutemen rose up Saturday afternoon and played like their No. 1 state ranking.
Senior Nolan Dyko’s header goal midway through the first overtime lifted Revere to a come-from-behind, 2-1 victory over University School and secured the program’s third regional soccer championship in four years.
Revere (19-0-2) will meet rival Bay Village Bay on Wednesday in a Division II state semifinal at 7 p.m. at a site to be determined.
A goal off the foot of junior Luke Kasson and Dyko’s thrilling score enabled the Minutemen to overcome a 1-0 deficit at Nordonia’s Boliantz Stadium.
“It’s a team that doesn’t fear anything,” Revere coach Sandor Jakab said.
“Persistence and perseverance are good words to describe what we did today.”
Dyko pushed the ball up the field and created the game-winning, corner-kick opportunity, and it was only fitting that the 6-foot-4 midfielder was able to finish it and spark a spontaneous celebration.
“It was a huge sigh of relief,” Dyko said. “During the season, I was disappointed because I didn’t score very [many header goals]. It was my job to stay on the keeper. Thankfully, it was inside where I could just shoot it.”
Senior Blake Easterling played the kick left to right, and Dyko, positioned on the near post, redirected the ball into the back of the net.
The Preppers (13-2-6) led 1-0 for 62 minutes, but Minutemen senior defender Brandon Taylor’s belief did not waver.
Taylor shared the state player of the year award last season and has been selected for the 2013 High School All-American Game.
“We’ve never been shut out,” he said. “I had confidence in our forwards that we would get a goal.”
Enter Kasson, who stayed in the middle of the field when the Minutemen were awarded a throw-in just off the end line on the left side. His blast from just beyond the penalty mark tied the match at 1-1 with 13 minutes to go.
“I just kind of dropped back and avoided all of the mess, and then it popped out to me, and I was in the right position and just finished it,” Kasson said.
A defensive miscue allowed University School striker Ryder Bell to get a one-on-one shot off against Revere senior goalkeeper Joel Gerberich. Although Gerberich (three saves) did get his hand on the ball, Bell scored his 35th goal of the season with less than five minutes played for a 1-0 lead.
The Minutemen had a 10-4 shots-on-goal edge and a 7-0 margin in corner kicks.
Taylor knows two more wins will bring the Minutemen a state championship.
“I’ve been to the state finals twice and hopefully I can make it a third time,” he said. “This is my last chance. I just have to make the most out of it.”
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.