Tallmadge volleyball coach Geoffrey Wagner wanted his Blue Devils team to be prepared for the postseason.
To accomplish that goal, Wagner went the route of most coaches and put together a challenging schedule.
The Blue Devils went 9-13 in the regular season, but have rounded into form in the Division II postseason tournament by evening their record at 13-13 with sectional wins over Manchester and No. 1 seed Field and district wins over No. 4 seed Archbishop Hoban and No. 2 seed St. Vincent-St. Mary.
Tallmadge will face Canfield in a regional semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Stow.
“Our schedule is really one of the things that prepared us for the postseason,” Wagner said. “Revere and us are the only Division II schools in a Suburban League full of Division I schools. Wadsworth is state ranked and we lost to them and Nordonia twice. We split with Copley, Highland and Cloverleaf, and won twice against Revere and Green.”
“We played seven five-game matches,” Wagner said. “I knew we would take some hits, but from that we really learned how to play in big game environments.”
Senior Emma Mathieson is Tallmadge’s top outside hitter and senior Demi DeLorenzo is the libero. Junior Karly Helmuth is the setter.
The Blue Devils also feature hitters: senior Meryl Wiebrecht, senior Christa Wilk, sophomore Rachel Gardella and senior Briana Burgan.
This is Tallmadge’s first regional appearance since 2006.
Yu leads Walsh
Walsh Jesuit will carry its Division II No. 1 ranking into tonight’s 7 p.m. regional semifinal match with Rocky River at Lyndhurst Brush.
The Warriors (17-0-2) possess a potent offense with senior catalyst Sandra Yu and her 14 goals and 16 assists.
Walsh coach Dino McIntyre said sophomore Halle Stelbasky (13 goals, six assists), senior Maddy John (11 goals and nine assists) and senior Kennedy Payne (11 goals and four assists) are effective as forwards.
The Warriors defenders are juniors Kaitlyn Semelsberger and Emily Rogers, and seniors Sarah Kornick and Abbey Filicko.
Dean guides Hoban
Soccer coach Brian Misanko will lead Hoban (14-4-1) into a Division II regional semifinal match with Toledo St. Ursula at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Sandusky.
Knights senior forward Jamie Dean has scored nine goals in three playoff matches, wins over Alliance, Northwest and Norton. Dean has 21 goals on the season and two assists.
“Jamie is our top goal scorer,” Misanko said. “If things are not going well or we are not playing our best soccer, you can count on her to step up and hit a long shot or rebound. She has been very aggressive in the playoffs going for the ball after it bounces off a keeper’s hands or a post.”
Junior Mykaela Zingale (13 goals and 8 assists) and freshman Alex Sheldon (10 assists) are also a presence on offense.
Misanko said junior Katie Easton has five headers for goals off corner kicks.
Senior goalkeeper Mackenzie Beke has 10 shutouts. Seniors Allie Griffith and Katie Walpole are key defenders.
Bees buzz on
Medina coach Doug Coreno has his team back in the Division I regional bracket for the first time since 2009 after overcoming adversity. The Bees (12-5-2) will face Westlake at 7 p.m. tonight at Rocky River.
Medina had 15 players who were suspended for two games earlier this season for violating a curfew rule, and two players have been lost due to injury.
“It’s been a wild, stressful ride at times, but these kids have handled it with maturity like seniors,” Coreno said.
“It wasn’t hard to bounce back from the suspensions. We have a great group of girls that knew they made a mistake. They served their suspension, came back and played hard.”
Senior midfielder Emily Felton was lost earlier in the season due to a knee injury and sophomore forward Hannah Ludwig was shut down two weeks ago with a concussion.
Defender Marisa Scullin is the lone Bees senior starter, and junior Nicole Bennett leads the team with 12 goals and three assists.
Sophomore Brianna Shingary, freshman Elizabeth Ash and junior Amy Bobonik are also key Medina players along with sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Reynolds (seven shutouts). Coreno said the Bees played 16 regular season matches, and that 12 of the opponents played in a district championship. Six of those teams are in a regional semifinal.
“Lauren Rafie and Alex Root are both sophomores who started the year on JV. They teamed up for the winning goal to beat Copley in the district final,” Coreno said.
Not to be outdone, the Medina boys team is also playing under coach Mark Malikowski.
The Bees (12-4-2) will play Westlake in a Division I regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Nordonia after beating Highland 1-0 in a district final.
Junior Aaron Liezert scored the goal to beat the Hornets. He has 15 goals and six assists this season. Senior Nate Libertowski is the team leader with 16 goals and 10 assists.
Junior Jared Vidika, senior Michael Clendenin and sophomore Noah Hastings are key Bees defenders. Junior Tommy Lear and senior Chris Sabetta are quality midfielders and junior Dean McNeil is the goalkeeper.
Bears keep roaring
Jackson has its volleyball, girls soccer and boys soccer teams all in regional matches this week.
The Polar Bears boys soccer team will play Aurora at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Revere.
Boys soccer coach Michael Biros said his team is 11-4-4 overall, and 7-0-2 in its past nine. James Haupt and Nick Wright are the only seniors in the starting lineup. Haupt has 18 goals and nine assists.
Jackson junior goalkeeper Michael Metzger has nine shutouts. Carter Billett, Micah Johnson, Patrick Zonfa and Edin Sabjlakovic are also consistent juniors.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at https://ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.