June 26, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Bees face talented Perrysburg

Medina's Brianna Shingary advances the ball up field against Westlake's Erin Langermeier during the second half. (JUDD SMERGLIA)

SANDUSKY — This year, no team has been as powerful as Perrysburg.
The Yellow Jackets girls soccer squad is averaging an eye-popping five goals a game, has recorded shutouts in 16 of 20 victories and has one of the top forwards in the state.
Now, Medina faces the tall task of slowing down the nation’s second-ranked and state’s top-rated   Yellow Jackets today at Sandusky in a Division I regional title game.
Rankings aside, the Bees (13-5-2) are ready.
“We don’t put rankings in our head,” junior forward Nicole Bennett said. “We’ve always been taught not to, especially since I was a freshman when we were No. 1 in the nation. It doesn’t mean anything.
“I know how good of a team Perrysburg is, but I know how good my team is.”
While Medina has used some late-game heroics to pull off wins in their last two postseason games with goals in overtime, the Yellow Jackets (20-0) have steamrolled their opponents.
Perrysburg has allowed just two goals over the last 12 games and just five shots have found the back of the net against senior goalkeeper Chloe Buehler.
The Yellow Jackets outscored teams by a whopping 103-5 en route to winning a third-straight Findlay D-I District crown. Last season, Perrysburg lost 1-0 to eventual big-school state champ Strongsville in a regional final.
Perrysburg’s attack starts with Purdue recruit Maddy Williams. One of the state’s top strikers, Williams not only is a prolific scorer (45 goals), but a big playmaker as well. Midfielder Lucy Walton (12 goals, 8 assists) and forward Alexx Browns (12, 6) have been the chief recipients of the senior’s 16 assists.
“We know that they have a player in Maddy Williams up top, who is very dangerous and is a great finisher,” Bees coach Doug Coreno said. “They’ve got some talented midfielders and are a very well-coached, well-organized team.
“It’s going to be a great game, but what Elite Eight game is not going to be a great game.”
 “Back in the preseason I knew they were very good,” Bennett said of a scrimmage in August. “Our team was good too, but we weren’t fully there. Perrysburg probably wasn’t either, but I’m confident in my team right now.
“I think we have a shot at it, with how hard we are working and how well we’re working together, so I’m very excited.”
The Bees have been on a tear in the second half of the season. Since their 4-1 loss to Strongsville in late September, Medina has gone 7-0-1 — the lone tie coming against state-ranked Dublin Coffman.
Coreno is pumped about the chance to play for the team goal of a state Final Four berth.
“We just have to keep playing the way we’ve been playing the last two or three weeks,” he said. “Ever since the Strongsville game, we’ve really looked at this like a second season for us and we feel like the way we’re playing right now, we think we can beat anybody.
“We said from the get-go, if we continue playing with the effort and intensity that we have, we are going to be a very, very difficult team to beat and it’s going to be a great game.”
Contact Dan Brown
at sports@medina-gazette.com.