STRONGSVILLE, O. - Perrysburg seemed a step slower than North Olmsted in the early moments of the Division I boys soccer regional semifinal last night.
The slow start may haunt the Yellow Jackets for a while as North Olmsted escaped with a 2-1 win on Halloween night.
North Olmsted (17-2-1) produced two goals within the first 15 minutes to put Perrysburg in a difficult position of playing catch-up against one of the state's best soccer programs. The deficit proved to be too much to overcome for a Yellow Jackets team that had been accustomed to playing with the lead most of the season.
“We didn't come out strong and North Olmsted did,” Perrysburg coach Pete Raffa said. “I give them credit. They came out and put two goals in that they shouldn't have.”
North Olmsted jumped ahead 1-0 when midfielder Mike Mackulin kicked a deflected pass right by Perrysburg goalie Mark Yavorsky 7 minutes, 49 seconds into the first half. North Olmsted's leading scorer for the season, Mark Trapp, padded the lead when he received a feed and kicked a shot from 20 yards out that sailed away from Yavorsky's outstretched hands into the goal at the 14:10 mark in the first half.
That was all the scoring the Eagles needed in order to advance to the regional final against the Strongsville-Mansfield Madison winner on Saturday.
“Going into the game I could tell they were extremely confident and I knew coming out and starting to play that we would be OK,” North Olmsted coach Christian Marsh said, referring to his team.
The Yellow Jackets, who finished the season at 17-2-2, never quit despite falling behind early.
Down 2-0 at intermission, the Yellow Jackets came out in the second half playing with quicker feet and more aggressively. It eventually led to Perrysburg tightening the score when midfielder Brad Borough scored with just over five minutes elapsed in the second half.
Raffa said he thought the two-hour-long drive on the turnpike may have affected his team. In comparison, North Olmsted traveled about 15 minutes to reach Foltz Field, which was considered a neutral site.
“Our kids come right off the bus and have to play the game while they can all drive in their cars to the game,” Raffa said. “North Olmsted should have had to go the same distance as we had to go. It's not fair.”
The Yellow Jackets had chances to score before halftime. Perrysburg's Jeff Brown had a couple of clear shot attempts that sailed wide. Borough also had a good look on a breakaway, but it sailed wide left.