MEDINA — Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
The Medina girls soccer team was not going to be denied Wednesday, as it earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Solon in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division opener for both teams.
In a defensive battle, the Bees (4-1-2, 1-0) finally took a 1-0 lead with 3:17 remaining, but Solon (5-2, 0-1) responded 1:03 later.
Medina, however, wasn’t done.
“I looked at the body language of the kids when we gave up that goal, and not one kid hung their head and not one dropped their shoulders,” Bees coach Doug Coreno said. “They just grabbed the ball out of the net, they sprinted to the midway line and said, ‘We’re winning this game,’ and they did.”
After an evenly played opening half, it was all Medina in the second, as it peppered Comets goalkeeper Kristen Confroy, who is committed to play basketball for Maryland and came in with five straight shutouts.
The leg of sophomore backup midfielder Elizabeth Ash cashed in two attempts in a span of 1:26 to help the Bees clinch a crucial league win.
“I came off (in the second half) and (Bees assistant coach) Bob (Armentrout) pulled me aside when I was warming up to go back in,” Ash said. “He said, ‘Just work as hard as you can. Go out there and be a beast and take shots. You know it’s a 0-0 game against a conference opponent and you have to take as many shots as you can.”’
The relentlessness of Ash and her teammates set up the game’s first goal, as Hannah Ludwig crossed the ball into traffic — Confroy came off her line — to set up Ash for a point-blank shot.
“I was really nervous for that one,” Ash said with a smile. “Hannah looked up, saw me and played a perfect ball to me.”
Almost before Medina had time to exhale, Solon marched down the field and scored off a set play, with Emily Russell heading in a pass from Maria Collica.
But the Bees, who outshot the Comets 16-6 overall and 9-3 on goal, kept playing.
Off the restart, sophomore Sydney Leckie dribbled the ball to the box and flicked it to Ash, who unleashed a rope from 20 yards out that caught Confroy off guard.
“After the kickoff, I was thinking that we had to get another goal or get someone a goal,” Ash said. “It came to me, I got it to my left foot where I’m more confident and put my head down and ripped it upper 90. It was an awesome moment.”
After losing to Brunswick on Saturday, it was a much-needed moment for a Medina squad that was out to right the ship and get ready for the second half of its schedule, which is loaded.
“It says a lot about their character and says a lot about their maturity and, really, their want to win,” Coreno said. “That’s the big thing we talked about this week is just having that internal desire to get the results every night, and you saw that. They were not going to lose this game and they were rewarded.”
It was a bittersweet return to the press box for Medina public address announcer Brett Ruiz. After missing the first four home games, Ruiz made his season debut, but only after being issued a parking ticket just outside Medina Memorial Stadium.
• The win was the first for the Bees in four years against the Comets. Medina had lost the previous two matchups and tied in 2010.
• Sydney Forbes and Sarah Blue scored off free kicks from more than 20 yards out as Medina’s junior varsity blanked Solon 3-0. Rachel Wall had the other score.
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.