July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Girls soccer: Devils pay back Grizzlies

BRUNSWICK — If there was any doubt Brunswick’s girls soccer team was worthy of the top seed at the Brunswick Division I Sectional, it made a convincing statement Thursday night.

The Blue Devils dominated Wadsworth in every facet en route to winning their postseason opener 5-0 at Judy Kirsch Stadium.

While most that braved the wet conditions expected to see a nip-and-tuck game after the schools played to a 2-2 draw earlier this season, the game quickly turned into a blowout as state-ranked Brunswick dictated the pace and had control of possession for the majority of the night.

“For tonight, it says that we beat Wadsworth,” Blue Devils coach Scott Ward said when asked if the win was a statement. “We tied them last time coming off of (a 1-0 win over) Medina and their coach (Paul Williford) mentioned something like they were the better team with the tie and our girls read that (on social media).

“They didn’t want to take that chance anymore that anyone would be able to say that.”

Motivation aside, Brunswick earned a trip to next week’s district semifinals against Copley behind its center midfield combination of Macey Juguilon and Miranda Alzarraq.

With Juguilon the attacker and Alzarraq the holder, the duo locked down talented midfielder Sarah Berger and brought the Grizzlies attack to a screeching halt.

They also helped limit Wadsworth (12-5-1) to just two shots on goal — one by Brooke Braman and the other by Allison Hagans — and three total. Medina County leading scorer Leah Runkle was shadowed by freshman Heather Craska and held without a shot attempt.

“They were everywhere,” Williford said. “They doubled-teamed us as soon as we touched the ball, causing a lot of havoc for us, and we couldn’t find passing lanes or look to really control anything.”

That gave way to a pair of goals toward the end of the first half, as Geena Gamble scored off a cross from Gabby Maslowski. That was followed 6 minutes later by Hayley Anderson uncorking a 22-yard bomb that slipped off the hold of goalkeeper Hannah Centea.

The goal to open the second half was the backbreaker, as a throw-in from Alzarraq was headed back by Juguilon to the foot of Sam Malleo, who settled and poked the ball in.

The midfield play set up various counterattacks and kept the game on one end of the field.

“I had a good feeling about tonight,” Juguilon said. “Me and Miranda talked about everything before the game, and we just motivated each other to do really well.

“We work really well together and have a good chemistry, and I think that’s a part of it.”

The pairing was rewarded for its hard work later in the second half, as both netted insurance goals. Juguilon connected on a 40-yard rope and then found Alzarraq on one of the Blue Devils’ 10 corner kick attempts.

“We’re making history this year,” Juguilon said. “I think teams underestimate us because of our past, but we’re a new team this year and we’ve been successful, so people shouldn’t underestimate us.”

While Brunswick is embarking on a new era, Wadsworth saw one of its most successful ones come to an end with seniors Runkle, Centea, Braman, Erica Hantzche, Hagans, Courtney Palange and Berger.

Those players, along with injured senior Paige Joy, were key cogs when the Grizzlies marched to the regional finals in 2011.

“We’re not going to replace any of those girls,” Williford said. “These are all girls that made a huge impact the last four years here, and it’s been kind of a turning point in us getting to a higher level and staying there atop the Suburban League.”

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.