Senior captain and midfielder Nick Felician (above) scored a brace in the GCC opener to take down Shaker Heights by the score of 2-1. (Photo courtesy of Ric Kruszynski)
Shaker Heights, Ohio – The Brunswick High School Men’s Soccer Team pulled off a gutsy comeback over Greater Cleveland Conference rival Shaker Heights, by the score of 2-1. Brunswick improves to 2-1-0 on the young season and 1-0-0 in the GCC. Shaker, who had been on fire lately after beating St. Edward (5-1) and Cleveland Heights (6-0) drops to 2-2-0 and 0-1-0 in the GCC.
In the first half, both teams had chances early. For Brunswick, senior captain and midfielder Nick Felician rattled the cross bar in the ninth minute with a solo blast that had beaten Shaker goalkeeper Gabe Whitlach. Shaker nearly grabbed the lead in the 14th minute when Shane O’Neill went close but was forced wide by freshman goalkeeper Gavyn Ernst. Moments later, Shaker broke the deadlock. Taking the early lead at the 17:23 mark of the first half was Asher Pollack scoring a solo goal to put the Red Raiders up 1-0.
Brunswick quickly regrouped. In the 31st minute, off a cleared corner kick, junior midfielder Garrett Shay collected the clearance and sent a ball back into Felician who quickly beat a defender and fired a ball past Whitlach to knot the game at one. Moments later, Brunswick nearly took the lead just before the break as freshman Cole Parete found himself alone at the penalty spot with an open look, but his effort just missed the top left corner.
Despite dominating the past few minutes, Brunswick and Shaker went into intermission drawn at one.
In the second half, Brunswick would quickly find the game winning goal. After a long ball into the Shaker the box, Felician quickly rounded a Red Raider defender and then was quickly brought down before shooting. The referee blew the whistle for a penalty kick. Felician calmly walked to the spot, sent Whitlach the wrong way by scoring to his left for the 2-1 lead.
In the 72nd minute, Brunswick nearly put the game beyond doubt when Parete laid off a pass to senior midfielder and captain Antonio Demonte whose low shot was just wide of the post.
The last few minutes were nervy for the Blue Devils as Shaker poured on the pressure but the defense of senior and captain Kyle Wolf, juniors Aaron Ogorzaly, Ryan McConnell and Nate Borher held strong for the 2-1 win. Ernst also produced several stellar saves in the game keeping Shaker at bay.
Freshman goalkeeper Gavin Ernst earned the second win of his career on six saves. Whitlach, for Shaker, took the loss on six saves to even his season record at 2-2.
Coach Dotson was very happy following the match. “What a response from our team! Very proud of them to rally together and find a way to get a result.”
Felician earned Man of the Match Honors for the game for his heroics. Dotson was very pleased with his senior captain. “Nick was what he is supposed to be tonight, be our leader and be there when we needed him. He answered the call tonight and was brilliant.
Brunswick next plays when arch-rival Medina comes to Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium next Tuesday for a 7:00 pm kickoff.
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.