BRECKSVILLE: Desire and distractions are just two of the many words that are part of any coach’s lexicon.
After defeating top-ranked Revere in the district final, it was only natural to wonder if Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy would let their fans down.
It was not a problem.
The Royals came out strong early and maintained control throughout the match, defeating Cortland Lakeview 4-1 in a Division II regional semifinal Wednesday night at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.
CVCA coach Jon Taylor watched his Royals play with great focus on a cold, rainy night with small puddles forming on the artificial turf field.
“This group has committed to getting better every day. Today, the group got better; you could see on the guys’ faces that they enjoy playing together,” Taylor said. “Lakeview is really organized and made it difficult for us. After our training session today, hopefully we will be even better.”
Taylor brushed off the idea of a letdown.
“If we would fall into that it would be a naive mistake,” Taylor said. “At this time of year, it is one game at a time.”
The Royals’ first goal was set up by the skills and hustle of Sammy Meszaros. After getting the ball near the left corner, Meszaros brought it across the middle and found Ben Locke open. Locke blasted it into the lower right side of the goal.
CVCA dominated the first half, outshooting the Bulldogs 6-1 and the Royals had a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks.
“Ben Locke is a good player, and he would be the first to say that he benefits from the people around him,” Taylor said. “The first goal was a one-touch finish and 97 percent of the credit belongs to Sammy Meszaros, but he [Locke] struck it really well.”
Locke also scored the second goal in the 19th minute of the second half. Picking up a loose ball, Locke moved to his right, just outside the 10-yard line, and hit a low hard kick into the left side of the net with 29:41 remaining in regulation.
Not quite two minutes later, an alert Collin Surface got a ball and blasted it into the open net for a 3-0 lead.
Just over a minute later, the Bulldogs scored. Austin Olbrych knocked home a rebound from a shot that hit squarely off the crossbar to cut the deficit 3-1.
The Royals crushed the comeback hopes of the Bulldogs when Tim Andrassy made a perfect crossing pass to a wide open Hayden Kaiser, who drilled the ball into the net with 14:04 left in the match.
“That goal was very important for us,” Taylor said. “If they had gotten a goal they would have had a head of steam going and possibly tied it. Thankfully, we went on a counterattack and got that goal.”
Andrassy was matter-of-fact about the way the team prepared for this match.
“We just came out here and did what we did and train the way we train. We just want to make sure we don’t overestimate or underestimate our opponents, which is a big mistake by some teams; like Revere thought we’d be a fly-by.”
The Royals will play Hunting Valley University School in the regional final at noon Saturday at Nordonia.
Read the high school blog at https://ohio.com/preps.