MEDINA: The girls soccer programs at Medina and Strongsville have won a combined six state championships in the last 16 seasons.
There is plenty of history between these two Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division rivals.
Yet, when the visiting Mustangs topped the Bees 3-0 Wednesday at Medina Memorial Stadium, Bees coach Doug Coreno was anything but disappointed with his team’s performance.
The score of a match can be deceiving, especially in soccer.
“It was a weird night,” Coreno said. “It was a total nightmare scenario. You give up an early goal, you take a red card, and you are playing a man down the rest of the way. You couldn’t script a worse night for us in terms of how the game was going to go. But, man, I was proud of my kids.”
Strongsville (8-4-1), having lost to Wadsworth on Monday, was looking to get off to a fast start and junior striker Rachel Schirripa scored less than 90 seconds into the match.
“When you score early you know you have to keep fighting because there is so much time left,” Schirripa said. “We knew this was a big game, so we had to put everything into it. It was good to get us going. It tested us.”
The Mustangs did not let up, and Schirripa scored again with just more than four minutes left in the first half.
Medina junior goalkeeper Jordan Reynolds saved the first shot off the foot of Alissa Lisi, but Schirripa punched home the rebound.
Strongsville had taken three shots on goal and led 2-0. Mustangs coach Jon Felton was pleased with the way his players responded to losing earlier in the week.
“Having this game right away, and having the atmosphere, and it being for a chance at the top of the conference, was that little motivation they needed,” he said. “We haven’t had too many years when we’ve lost four games.”
Then, with 2:34 left in the half, Medina sophomore Brianne Caccavale was tagged with a red card when she took down a Strongsville striker on what the center official deemed a breakaway opportunity.
The Bees were short one player the rest of the way.
Medina (8-2-3) continued to play as if the score was 0-0.
“I give them credit in the second half, being down a man, and going after us,” Felton said. “That was a great attack they put together.”
Coreno felt his team might have “settled” on too many long shots, but overall he was happy with his team’s effort.
“The kids worked so hard. They fought,” he said. “It’s no fun to lose, especially to your rival in a conference game, but I’m walking away with pride.”
In the first half, Medina senior Amy Bobonik narrowly missed on a shot from 25 yards that was saved by senior goalie Sarah Baskey off the crossbar.
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