MEDINA — Chalk it up to opening-night jitters, but the Medina girls soccer team didn’t put together the effort it wanted or expected Monday.
Despite that, the nationally ranked Bees still found a way to pick up a goal late in regulation to edge a pesky Copley squad 1-0 in non-league play at Medina Memorial Stadium.
“It’s nice to be able to come together in the end,” said senior forward Bri Shingary, who netted the eventual game-winning score with 5:19 remaining. “It was a rough night, but I think it shows a lot about us when we can at least finish one.”
After struggling through a first half in which the Indians (1-1-0) controlled much of the possession, Medina (1-0-0) came out of halftime with some fire but couldn’t get the quality looks or extra pass area fans have gotten used to seeing out of the Bees.
In all, the locals had 19 shots — 10 were on goal — but none were serious threats until Shingary’s strike in the closing minutes.
“One of the biggest things we did was we settled for a lot of long balls tonight and that’s not our style of play,” Medina coach Doug Coreno said. “Especially when you’re knocking the ball with two forwards into four backs, just do the math. That’s not going to work.
“Second half, we started to possess more, started to find feet and did a better job moving without the ball. We were able to create more opportunities.”
The Bees got some quality looks at goal in the final 20 minutes before finally breaking through a lanky and athletic defensive third for Copley.
After a give-and-go by junior Sydney Leckie to fellow midfielder Olivia Sency, Leckie was able to cross it over Shingary, who after one dribble blasted a bullet from 25 yards away over the left shoulder of Indians goalkeeper Taylor Snuffer (7 saves).
“I just wanted to get a shot off before the end of the game,” Shingary said. “Just keep shooting, that’s all that was in my head. Shoot, shoot, shoot.”
The Bees had a pair of attempts hit the post in the first half, one off the foot of Hannah Ludwig in the closing seconds that Lauren Rafie missed on the rebound.
That trend continued after intermission with freshman Janiece Joyner missing a pair of tries, including a header off a feed from Gabby Field.
But it was some impatience on the part of Medina’s attack that almost took it completely out of the game.
“We have to stop settling for bad shots,” Corerno said. “I don’t know what the final numbers were, but a lot of our shots weren’t dangerous. We would string three or four passes together and then hit a shot that doesn’t even find the frame or to the keeper’s hand. Tose are just wasted opportunities.
“But Copley’s a good side and we have all the respect in the world for them. It was a battle and I give my kids credit for kind of surviving our struggles early on and finding a way to win.”
Senior goalkeeper Jordan Reynolds picked up the clean sheet with a pair of saves, including an impressive diving stop of a Jordan Cotleur shot in the first half.
Medina notched its 12th win in a row against the Indians in a series in which the two schools has clashed in five out of the last six postseasons.
• Seven different players scored as Medina’s junior varsity team cruised to a 9-1 victory over Copley. Rachel Wahl paced the attack with a pair of goals.
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.