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CVCA girls soccer earns draw in season finale vs. Stow

by Michael Leonard Sports Editor Published: October 16, 2016 12:00 AM
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Both Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy and Stow-Munroe Falls girls soccer earned seeds at their respective postseason meetings Oct. 9.

When the two teams met Oct. 10 at Royals Stadium, both showed they are playoff ready.

CVCA took the lead, lost it and then came back to tie it as the Bulldogs and Royals finished with an entertaining 2-2 draw.

CVCA finished the regular season at 10-2-1.

Stow coach Nate Rausch was happy with his team's effort, noting just one area held the Bulldogs from getting the win.

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"It was one of our top games of the season," Rausch said. "We were great in the final third and we created a lot of chances. We've just got to find a way to put the ball in the net."

While giving credit to the Bulldogs, CVCA coach Mario Houston noted his team's schedule may have hurt the Royals in the run up to the game.

"We've had a lot of games the last few weeks," Houston said. "Our legs are just tired out there. It's tough when you have that level of speed to compete against. Stow is a talented team. Nate has done a great job with them."

In a battle between two possession-oriented teams, the game started at a frenetic pace and stayed there most of the night.

CVCA opened the scoring in the ninth minute in historic fashion. Senior Jaya Wilson made a run into the box before sliding a square ball to senior Toni Costa, who put the ball home.

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Costa's goal not only gave the Royals a 1-0 lead, but was the 49th goal of her career, tying her for the school record for goals in a career.

Stow was able to find a quick response, as it earned a corner kick in the 16th minute.

Senior Hannah Riddle took the corner and served it right to Elyse Casalinova, who blasted the ball into the top of shelf of the goal, tying it at 1-1.

Stow had the majority of possession in the first half and was able to take the lead in the 35th minute.

Sophia Boris passed the ball to Maddie Merlene just inside the box. Merlene turned and fired the ball just inside the right post, giving Stow a 2-1 lead at halftime.

"They did out-possess us," Houston said. "It's something we need to be aware of moving forward. We lost a few balls in key areas."

CVCA pressed for the equalizer and got it in the 53rd minute.

The Royals sent a high shot into the box, which Stow goalie Kieran Smith saved, but could not control the rebound. CVCA defender Abby Hutt was first to the loose ball and knocked it home from close range.

"They were very quick on offense, but were able to hold their counterattack game down," Rausch said.

Stow had some golden opportunities in the game's final 20 minutes, but could not find the winning goal. Boris hit the post twice during the game, as the Bulldogs finished with a 7-6 edge in shots on goal.

Hannah Riddle set the Bulldogs up by passing a free kick right across the six-yard box in the game's final two minutes. Somehow, the ball went through two sets of Stow legs and rolled out for a goal kick.

Smith finished with four saves on the night, while CVCA's Anna Mitchell had three.

CVCA will enter the postseason ranked No. 10 in Division II in the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association poll.

Houston noted CVCA earned a No. 1 seed in a district draw for the first time in school history, as the Royals were given the top seed in the Division II Medina district.

As a result, CVCA received a bye in the first round and will open the playoffs at home Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. against the winner of the Navarre Fairless-Canton South game.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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