CUYAHOGA FALLS: Freshmen Brooks Montgomery and Braden Petno are not afraid of the bright lights of the high school playoffs.
Neither are junior Colin Surface and sophomore Gino Finelli, or any other members of the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy boys soccer team, which defeated visiting Archbishop Hoban 2-0 Wednesday night in a Division II district semifinal at Royals Stadium.
No. 2-seed CVCA (14-3-0) advances to play No. 1-seed Revere (16-0-2) in a district final at 7 p.m. Saturday at Revere.
Surface and Finelli each scored a goal to help CVCA beat No. 3 seed Hoban (13-4-1). Montgomery played a solid match in goal to earn a shutout and Petno helped a strong Royals defense in a hotly contested match on a chilly fall evening.
Montgomery made his second start of the season at goalkeeper following a broken wrist during a training session that sidelined freshman starter Kyle Winquist. Montgomery said he played in two halves in the regular season as the backup, and started in CVCA’s playoff opening win last week against Streetsboro.
“The boys gathered around and helped me out,” Montgomery said. “During pregame, I had some nerves, but once the game got going, I felt good. I was ready. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous though.”
Surface gave CVCA a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute with a goal. The match remained close throughout the second half and then Finelli scored in the 72nd minute to make it 2-0.
“Neither team had much of the ball tonight,” CVCA coach Jon Taylor said. “It was a game with a lot of pressure. I would say both teams would be disappointed with the flow of the game. … In the tournament, emotions run high and the guys are playing like it might be their last game. Hoban was bringing an enormous amount of pressure tonight and they took a lot of chances. It showed at the end of the game we were able to run at them, time and time again, but they were throwing so many numbers forward we were having a tough time breaking them down. I think the guys battled hard. Guys are limping off the field. We took a lot of knocks today.”
Montgomery credited his teammates in front of him for their work. Petno, senior Tim Andrassy, junior Joey Horth and senior Will Rasper formed the starting defense.
“Nothing has been handed to us,” Taylor said. “We have had to earn a lot of stuff. This group has come a long, long way. The goals are shared evenly across the program.”
Senior Ben Gradert contributed as a starter at midfield with Surface and Finelli. Senior forwards Johnny Akindipe, Hayden Kaiser and Josiah DiPaolo also helped the Royals generate an offensive attack.
Per usual, Hoban battled to the final whistle. The Knights created multiple scoring opportunities in each half, but Montgomery was up to the challenge and made the necessary saves.
“Hoban is a really, really good team,” Andrassy said. “They definitely sharpened us tonight, and helped us prepare for Revere. We just look forward to that game. Revere is also a very respectable opponent and we are excited to play against them.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.