MEDINA — When things get out of hand like they did Tuesday, Medina boys soccer player Zach Haynes hikes his feet up on the proverbial Barcalounger and becomes a superfan.
Who can blame the senior keeper during an 11-0 Medina win against Elyria where he saw no shots on goal and just two shots overall?
The Bees (4-0) played that well, while the Pioneers (1-1-1) played that poorly in a game where Haynes played just 60 minutes. Dean McNeil played the other 20 for Medina, seeing one actual shot on goal.
“You try to control things,” Haynes said. “Me personally, I try to watch the game and keep talking. I’m always ready for a shot, but the first couple of games have been a breeze.”
Especially against Elyria, when Medina outshot the Pioneers 22-1 while holding a 7-1 edge on corner kicks.
It was just what the doctor ordered for the Bees as they head into a tough stretch where they play Copley, Stow, Brunswick and Strongsville.
“We talked about needing to start out 4-0 like this,” Medina coach Mark Malikowski said. “We wanted to put ourselves in position to be successful. This will give us some confidence for the tests coming up. We played really well.”
The midfield combination of Ross Cirincione, Jake Geiger and Nate Libertowski performed well for the Bees.
With Bernabe Santo Domingo, Graham Smith and Grant Spieth trying to force the action for the Pioneers, the Medina trio kept the ball in the Bees offensive third for almost the entire game.
Save for a shot by Bryce Ziegman with 2:12 remaining or Elyria would have been shut out in two departments.
“A lot of times, we bypass them,” Malikowski said. “When we do use them, it’s important for them to push forward and join the attack. They did those two things well.”
As good as the midfield was, Gareth Evison (2 goals, 3 assists) and Aaron Liezert (3 goals) played even better as the two forwards were involved in the mix time and again.
Things got ugly quick for the Pioneers as Evison converted a penalty kick 3:07 into the contest. His second goal came in the 22nd minute and things went from bad to worse for Elyria.
“It was real important to have a game like this,” Evison said. “It was some nice, flowing soccer. Hopefully, this can carry over the next few games. We can take some confidence out of a game like this.”
That was the feeling across the board, as Medina put it all together in a contest it needed — even if it was a cross-division Northeast Ohio Conference game.
To a man, Malikowski pointed to the play of Michael Clendenin, Ryan Stenquist, Nick Everetts, Jared Vidika, Corbin Kruczek, Libertowski, Geiger, Evison, McNeil, Haynes, Cirincione and Liezert as the squad put together a Hurculean effort against an overmatched team.
That effort — along with the class the Bees showed in the blowout — left a lasting presence on Elyria coach Phil Mariner as well.
“They have a deep collection of talent,” Mariner said. “Their eight subs are as good as their starters. They move to the ball and play off the ball well. They’re a very, very good team.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.