DUBLIN — On paper, it’s easy to say this is Dublin Coffman’s year.
With five seniors committed to Division I schools, including arguably the top player in the state in Ohio State recruit Sammy Edwards, the state-ranked Shamrocks are a heavy favorite to make a deep postseason run.
The impressive resume didn’t seem to faze Medina Saturday afternoon, as it battled Coffman to a 0-0 draw in girls soccer action.
Despite overcoming a strong attack by the Rocks (9-1-2) in the first half to putting together a handful of runs in the offensive third of their own late in regulation, the Bees (8-1-3) weren’t happy with the tie.
But they’ll take it.
“We’re obviously disappointed with a tie, but we showed a lot of heart, a lot of character and a lot of maturity today,” Medina coach Doug Coreno said. “They were really the better side in the first half, and it would’ve been easy for us to collapse and we didn’t.
“Not only did we hold on, but we were clearly the better team with the better chances in the final 25 minutes with 2-3 great chances that I thought we were going to get out of here with a 1-0 win.”
After not recording a shot attempt through the first 52 minutes, the Bees built up their attack against the third-ranked team in the D-I state coaches poll.
They also nearly came away with the victory.
“It was a change in energy,” senior defender Holly Rhodes said of the second half. “We want to win every game, but we definitely know that, hey, this is Dublin Coffman and they’re third in the state right now. We were definitely a little less confident in the beginning, but after halftime we picked it up a little bit.”
Just minutes after Edwards had her fourth and final shot attempt miss high and left the game with apparent ankle injury, Medina started to gain its offensive composure.
After sophomore Elizabeth Ash missed a shot wide on a breakaway, the Bees had the first of their two best looks. A scrum in the box ensued off a corner kick, and a deflection was batted down by goalie Christine Szabo.
It was deflected out to the Bees’ Amy Bobonik, who crushed a shot from the top of the box that was stopped.
“We’ve really developed into a very mature team, and we understand that when you play the teams that we do, that you’re not going to dominate for 80 minutes,” Coreno said. “You’re going to have points in the game when you’re just not playing well, and we had moments like that in the first half where we weren’t playing well, but we didn’t panic. We stayed composed and just played our way out of it.”
Minutes later, Medina goalkeeper Jordan Reynolds (6 saves) made an impressive leaping, finger-tip save on a shot by Allison Johnston, which gave way to the Bees’ Nicole Bennett taking a shot that went just wide.
Lilly Jackson played the ball ahead to a streaking Bennett. The ball bounced off the turf and over the head of Szabo, who came off her line, but Bennett was unable to convert on the open net.
While the Bees didn’t cash in late shots, they were still in the game after a first half in which Coffman attempted eight shots — three on goal — and four corner kicks.
Much of the credit went to Rhodes shutting down Edwards and Reynolds making crucial saves in goal, but Medina’s five-defender rotation that also included Brianne Caccavale, Haley Knox, Leanne Prandi and Jackson stool tall.
Even a deadlock is the right amount of momentum for the Bees’ Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division showdown with rival Strongsville on Wednesday.
“(Coffman) definitely was in our end, especially in the first half, but I thought we were doing a good job,” Rhodes said. “They didn’t get any really, really quality chances — maybe one or two that Jordan saved — but I thought we were solid defensively.
“This definitely gives us some more confidence. We’ve done really well our past five games and have come out with some solid wins. Now we have a little confidence heading into Strongsville Wednesday.”
The scoreless draw was the second of the season for Coffman against a Northeast Ohio power. The Rocks battled Walsh Jesuit, the No. 1 team in D-I, to a tie on Sept. 14.
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.