MEDINA — Against one of the toughest teams on its schedule, Medina’s boys soccer team proved Sunday afternoon it can hang with just about anybody.
Despite having limited looks at the goal, the Bees made the most of their few chances in forging a 2-2 tie with Anthony White in a non-league clash at Medina Memorial Stadium.
“We just came out and tried to play as hard as we could to get a good result and I think we did that,” said senior midfielder Brandon Hough, who netted both goals. “We proved we can play with anybody.”
The Generals (2-0-1), who like the Bees were a regional qualifier a season ago, came out firing in the opening minutes with a pair of shots — one saved easily by Dean McNeil (6 saves) and the other a blast from 35 yards that sailed high.
That quick start didn’t faze Medina (3-0-1), however, as a little more than 7 minutes in Aaron Leizert tapped the ball to the outside of the box, leaving enough room for Hough to punch it in with a left-footed shot. The pressure by Leizert and fellow forward Tommy Lear forced Anthony Wayne keeper Austin Kaminski off his line to open it up for Hough.
After a pair of scores by the Generals — one from Ben Conkin off a corner kick and the other by Colin Mortemore, who pushed in a pass from Andrew Yokum — the Bees found themselves down a goal with 2 minutes left in the half.
That’s when Hough struck again, taking a perfectly placed pass from Austin Horvath and blasting it in the right corner of the net after a defender just narrowly missed a clear attempt.
“Austin played the ball and the defender was off balance and I just kind of got it,” Hough said. “It was a fortunate for us, but also was a great look.
“You have to anticipate a little bit and have a little faith that it’s going to go through. Just be confident and put it in the back of the net.”
With two goals, Hough is up to four on the young season, but he was quick to admit he’s not the only threat.
“I think I’m in a good place right now,” he said. “But we have a lot of great players that can step up. Today was my day and it could be somebody else next week.”
After new life just before halftime, the teams had trouble stringing together shot attempts on goal in the final 40 minutes.
The Generals’ best look of the half came midway through, when A.J. Witte forced McNeil to dive to his right. It was one of three saves in the half for the senior keeper.
Medina has just one shot on frame in the second half that Tommy Lear took from about 25 yards and was collected easily. Horvath had a look with 2 minutes to go off a pass from Liezert that sailed wide.
“We were tired, and even the boys admitted that for the last 20 (minutes), but (Anthony Wayne) defended really well,” Bees coach Mark Malikowski said. “They’re solid in the back, and that’s a really good team. I’m happy we scored two on them, that’s a positive for us.
“I didn’t know how we would respond against a team that good and that may be one of the best team’s we play all year, but this was a good measuring stick to see where we’re at.”
Despite having just three shots on goal and five total attempts, Malikowski was pleased with the way his team battled the Generals’ size all over the field.
“We knew this game was going to be a measuring stick and I see way more positives out of this tie than negatives,” he said. “We wish we would’ve taken care of it and gotten the victory, but we corrected a lot of things that we haven’t been doing well.
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.
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