BRUNSWICK — Nothing seemed to slow down Brunswick’s boys soccer team Saturday afternoon.
Despite a torrential downpour for most of their non-league game with Willoughby South, the Blue Devils looked like a team on a mission en route to an impressive 6-0 victory at Judy Kirsch Stadium.
After losing three straight games, which included a 4-0 setback to Shaker Heights earlier in the week, Brunswick (7-4-3) bounced back in a big way.
“They lost sight a little bit of having fun as a group, and I think they put way too much pressure on themselves for a little bit,” Blue Devils coach Ben Dotson said. “There was too much negative energy, and we took a couple days to reflect and have some fun and it showed.
“They actually enjoyed playing today and got back to knocking the ball around. Some of the goals were scored tonight were very, very good soccer goals.”
Indeed they were, as they strung together a consistent attack that peppered the Rebels (4-10-1) with 24 shots, 14 of which were on goal.
After a Jesse Marinaro goal to open the game, the Blue Devils broke it open in a span of 12 minutes at the end of the half with goals from Micahel Zorij, Marinaro and Jake Simonelli.
“We’re were just playing the ball good and playing simple, passing it around,” said Zorij, who also assisted on Simonelli’s goal. “We’re finally getting back together as a team, like we used to in the beginning of the season. We stopped doing that for a couple of games, but we’re back at it now.”
Zorij is one of a handful of Brunswick players that has been sidelined due to injury, as he’s played in a handful of games due to a broken collarbone. On Saturday, the Blue Devils returned to full strength as defender Dylan Castro returned from a concussion.
“It was nice having everyone back,” Dotson said. “I looked down at my bench and I can actually do what I wanted to do. It brought some balance to the attack because the last couple of games everyone has been keying in on Jesse, and now with Michael being such a threat, they have to respect two players. It’s nice to watch us be so balanced on both sides of the field.”
Luke Steinkemp netted his first career goal off a feed from Rohan Srivastava minutes into the second half. It was followed by Marinaro’s third score of the night — and his Medina County-leading 17th of the season — with 1:45 left.
Combine the consistent attack with a defense that allowed just six shots from South — five were stopped by freshman goalkeeper Gavin Leindecker and one by Kyle Hotz — and Dotson was pleased with the effort.
“Three of the goals were absolutely dynamite from playing quickly,” Dotson said. “It was unselfish play through the middle, get the ball moving and then being dangerous. They were good, solid runs that came from being unselfish. It was a fantastic attitude and work rate.”
Despite free admission, a little more than 100 fans attended the game on community day due to the inclement weather.
• Leindecker was issued a yellow card for touching the ball outside the box late in the second, forcing the goalie to be taken out. Hotz, a reserve forward, filled in and recorded a save on a shot from Don Martin before Leindecker returned.
• The junior varsity game was stopped nine minutes in because of lightening in the area and was not restarted.
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.