SANDUSKY — Bay Village Bay’s boys’ soccer team was quite at home on the turf of Firelands Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Rockets’ defense and goalkeeper Kevin Linder made things miserable for Kenton in advancing to the Division II state semifinals with a 3-0 shutout of the Wildcats.
Bay (18-1-2) advances to take on Richfield Revere at a time to be determined Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus.
“We have a lot of speed and quickness in our lineup. We don’t necessarily have a lot of size outside of Cade Gergye and Kyle Cusimano,” Bay head coach Robert Dougherty said. “I have not had a tandem like those two. They have combined for 60 goals and over 100 points in their careers. They both are just two very heady players and they played very well for us today. We have five starters in our lineup that go 120 pounds, so know what we have (as far size) and need to use. Our game fits very well on this turf because we play on it all the time.”
Kenton had coach Jamie Bartlett knew what kind of team his crew was facing.
“They know how to play this game very well. Their passing, physicality and other strengths are impressive,” Bartlett said. “It would have been nice to play them on grass, like at our place, but they are just a very nice team with the way they move the ball and control the game. We wanted to get out of the first half either tied at 0-0 or only down a goal but gave up two goals that we didn’t make them work for. We had scrimmaged them earlier; we knew what kind of team they had, but they looked like team that had grown considerably over a 19-game schedule.”
The Wildcats (18-1-1) had the first look of the contest at the 37-minute mark of the first half as Hayden Hicks fired an 18-yarder from the right wing but the ball hit off a defender and Linder came up with the stop.
The speed and quickness of the Rockets’ lineup would begin to take its toll on Kenton from then on, limiting the chances Kenton had at the goal.
At the 31-minute mark, they broke through. Gergye got control on the left wing and dribbled closer to the goal, firing a 15-yarder by Kenton goalkeeper Luke Woodruff (4 saves versus 7 shots on-goal) and into the right side of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Bay Vused its ball-control and passing to control the match as the first half wore on, not necessarily getting a lot of attempts at the goal but making it difficult for Kenton to answer.
At 22:10, Danny Kruzer’s 16-yarder from the right wing was denied by Woodruff.
At 19:40, Cusimano had his offering from 14 yards on the right post turned away.
Kenton had one other try at 14:05 when Landon Bartlett fired from 17 yards but his shot from the left wing was wide right.
“When we scrimmaged them before, we had made some changes in the lineup. A couple of people that played today didn’t then and others were in different positions,” Dougherty said. “Still, from what we saw then, we felt we could be facing this team this late in the tournament. We’re looking forward to playing the state semifinals and preparing for at least another game. That’s the goal at this point of the season. I am so proud of this team and how we played today.”
Finally, at 12:22, Bay Village got an all-important second goal. This time, off a throw-in from deep down the right side by Nolan Sooy, DeCapua fired from well out on the sideline and his shot found the net high to the left side over the top of the keeper for a 2-0 spread.
“This group of seniors don’t realize what they have done for Kenton soccer. In the years before they arrived, we were something like 11-54,” Bartlett said. “This group of seniors won its 50th game the other day. It hurts right now to lose like this but they have changed the culture around Kenton soccer and in our community. Eventually, they will realize what they have done for this program in their four years here but it’s never easy to end a season like this. We will miss these young men but we have some talented players coming up and we have a lot of work to do to get even with some of the better teams in the state.”
Kenton had another shot on-goal at 39:14 of the second half as Landon Bartlett let loose from the top of the arc but Linder got the stop.
At 34:38 of the second half, Bay made it 3-0 on a pure individual move by Cusimano. He got control near midfield and dribbled down the left sideline. Nearing the goal, he dribbled inside past the last defender and fired a 12-yarder into the net.
Defenses ruled the day the rest of the way as each team had one last shot on-goal.
At 20:10, Kenton’s Riley Risner fired a 22-yarder but it was denied by Linder.
At 3:52, Cusimano tried a header from 10 yards that was stymied by Woodruff.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.