Brunswick, Ohio – The Brunswick High School Men’s Soccer Team’s record setting campaign ended last night in heart breaking fashion, in a dramatic penalty shootout, by the score of 2-1 to the Indians of Copley in the district semifinal round of the OHSAA State Tournament. Second seed Brunswick suffers its first loss of the year and closes 2016 with a 13-1-4 overall record.
Third seeded Copley improves to 12-5-1 on the year and moves on to the District Final versus Medina. That match will be played Saturday evening at 4:00 pm at Highland High School.
The pre-match hype surrounding the game proved true as both teams were ranked high in multiple state polls throughout the year. Both team’s brought out the best in the other for a scintillating match.
In the first half, Copley had slightly the better of the action, out shooting Brunswick by a mark of 4-3. However, Brunswick held a slim edge on corner kicks (1-0) and shots on goal (1-0).
In the second half, things became much more lively. In the 55th minute, a Brunswick set piece nearly produced the match’s first goal. Senior captain and midfielder Ryan Scott found the ball rolling across the six-yard box and had a goal bound effort denied on the line by goalkeeper Jared Miller.
Miller’s ensuing distribution was mis-cleared by the Blue Devil defense and Vinny Worner was played in behind for a break-away. Worner’s effort from inside the penalty area went past Blue Devil goalkeeper and captain Gavin Leindecker and into the net.
This was the first time all-season that the Blue Devils were trailing in a match.
However, the response was fantastic from Brunswick. The offense woke up and after several positive minutes of play, Scott was played in behind the defense and was taken down in the box for a penalty kick. Senior captain and defender Ben Clouse converted the effort to knot the game at 1-1.
During the closing minutes, both teams played at a frenetic pace and traded chances. In the 73rd minute, Christian Harter had a long range effort that was snagged out of the air by Leindecker.
With just under two minutes remaining, senior forward Cory Gilbert got in behind the Copley defense and drew Miller off his line but Gilbert’s chipped effort was snagged out of the air.
Moments later the whistle blew and the game was headed for golden-goal overtime.
In the first overtime, Copley nearly found the winner just 20 seconds in, as Jared Mattei slid for a ball rolling across the goal line off a pass from Worner, but he was unable to poke the ball into the goal.
In the 87th minute, Worner would find himself all alone with a shot from 12 yards, but Leindecker produced a stellar save down to his left.
Copley continued to dominate proceedings until the first overtime ended.
In the second overtime, Copley would continue to press for the winner. A long range effort from Evan Malpass nearly found the top corner but Leindecker again produced a world class save to keep the game alive.
The game would draw to a close with the dreaded penalty-kick shoot out set to decide the winner.
In the first frame, junior midfielder Nick Felician scored to Miller’s left. His effort was not matched as Worner missed his kick high and to the right.
In the second round, Clouse hit the cross bar and Jared Mattei scored to even proceedings.
In the third set, Leindecker and Copley defender Bryan Klyne both scored.
In the fourth set, Miller made a spectacular save on senior captain and defender Luke Steinkamp. Evan Malpass scored to give Copley the lead.
In the final round, Gilbert scored first to tie the kicks at three, but unfortunately Christian Harter slipped a ball past Leindecker for the final margin.
Coach Dotson was upset following the match. “Its emotional. Its a terrible way to end a game. I would much prefer someone beats us on a great play than kicks from the spot. Our kids gave everything they had tonight and we came up just short. We had a spectacular season, one for the books. Best of luck to Copley moving forward, they are a great team with a great coach.”
Dotson was even more upset when asked about the seniors has losing. “We lost some great seniors tonight who took this program to a new level. They will be very much missed. They went on an amazing four-year journey together and I am so proud of them.”
Leindecker earned Man of the Match Honors in his final game in Blue Devil uniform for his spectacular game.
Coach Dotson thought Leindecker was brilliant. “Gav did what he has been doing since his freshman year...keeping us in games. We could have lost multiple times in overtime, but he refused to let his team down. Over the past four years, he has grown so much…just so proud of him. Four years ago, we challenged him to set every goalkeeping record possible…mission accomplished. ”
Leindecker took the loss with six saves. Miller took the win on five saves.
FOR ADDITIONAL BHS MEN’S SOCCER INFORMATION, please contact Head Coach Ben Dotson via telephone at (330) 273-0496 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For further BHS Athletics Information, please visit the school’s athletics website at www.bluedevilathletics.org.