If you’re being defended by Medina’s Holly Rhodes, you know two things right off the bat: You must be an exceptional player and you will not be getting many opportunities that night to show it.
The senior back has made a habit of shutting down some of the top players in the state.
It started last season when Rhodes held Perrysburg’s Maddy Williams scoreless in the Bees’ 2-0 Division I regional final loss. Williams, who is currently playing at Purdue University, scored a school-record 48 goals and scored in every game but the Medina one in leading her team to the D-I state title.
Rhodes has carried her ability to frustrate opposing forwards into the current season, most recently going toe-for-toe with speedy Leah Runkle of Wadsworth. She held the All-Gazette forward to just three shot attempts in a 1-0 win against the rival Grizzlies.
“Holly’s one of the best defenders in the state and she excels at man-on-man marking,” Medina coach Doug Coreno said.
Toss in locking up talented players in Kat Zalar from Hawken, Anna Haverchak from Copley, Lindsay Sands from Amherst and Maddie Kresevic of Solon and Rhodes is one of several reasons Medina is off to a good start.
Tonight she will be tasked with limiting Hudson’s Alex Wright in a key Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division showdown.
But quite possible her biggest test will come Saturay when the Bees travel to Dublin Coffman in a rematch of the 2009 state final. Rhodes will look to limit senior forward Sammy Edwards, an NSCAA All-American last season and an Ohio State recruit.
Since Buckeye’s boys dropped a 4-2 decision to Firelands earlier this month, the Bucks have won six straight. Defense has been key, as the backline of Bernie Derksen, Mitchel Boehmke, Ryan Cobb, Bordie Gagne and goalkeeper Ryan Huber have surrendered just one goal while the Bucks have tallied 19.
• Brunswick goalie Gavin Leindecker has had a strong freshman campaign, allowing four goals in seven games.
Cloverleaf’s girls lost yet another starter to the injured list last week. Freshman Madison Horner sustained a concussion in a loss to Highland and will be sidelined this week. Junior midfielder Nicole Cooke is done for the year with a knee injury.
• All-Gazette forward Aaron Liezert made his return the pitch Saturday in Medina’s 0-0 draw with North Ridgeville, playing roughly 26 minutes. The senior had been sidelined for three weeks with a separated shoulder.
• Speaking of returns, Highland’s Logan Davis has scored seven times in five games since returning from a broken collarbone.
What to watch
A pair of county showdowns dot the Saturday schedule. Black River travels to Buckeye for a Patriot Athletic Conference girls game and Highland hosts Buckeye in a non-league boys clash. The Pirates enter the week still searching for their first win of the campaign, while the Bucks are a game up in the Stars Division title race. In the other match, the Hornets and Bucks will meet in an interesting cross-county battle.
• Medina’s girls will look to improve to 3-0 in the NOC Valley in a game tonight at Hudson before traveling to state-power Dublin Coffman on Saturday afternoon.
• The Medina boys team, which has been impressive defensively in posting six straight shutouts and is currently ranked seventh in the state, will look to gain some ground on NOC Valley Division-leading Solon tonight in Cuyahoga County. The Bees are tied with Mentor for second place, a half-game back of the Comets.
Mera Serio, daughter of former Buckeye boys coach Joe Serio, netted two varsity goals for Buckeye in a win over Oberlin.
• The Cloverleaf girls team has added a game to its schedule to replace one with GlenOak that got cancelled last week. The Colts with entertain Badger High on Oct. 5 at 2 p.m.
• Cloverleaf’s Owen Stankiewicz scored his first career goal as the Colts picked up their first victory of the season in a 12-0 drubbing of Bedford.
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.