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Published: Wednesday, 11/1/2006

Strongsville tops Perrysburg

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

MEDINA, Ohio - In two previous meetings between Perrysburg and Strongsville in the Division I boys soccer tournament, the Yellow Jackets prevailed to claim regional championships in 1994 and 2001.

But the Yellow Jackets came up empty on figuring out how to pull off a similar result when the two teams met last night in a regional semifinal at Medina High.

Sixth-ranked Strongsville rolled to a 3-0 victory over Perrysburg to advance in the tournament.

The Mustangs, led by Pioneer Conference player of the year Michael Green, will face the St. John's Jesuit on Saturday.

"We're happy with the season," Perrysburg coach Mike Timbrook said. "I thought we played pretty well. When you get to the final 16 teams every team is tough."

Strongsville, which defeated Perrysburg 4-1 earlier in the season, dictated the action most of the night. And Green, a junior forward, provided the spark for the Mustangs (14-2-4) to run away with the victory. He scored his team-high 16th goal of the season and accounted for an assist on each of the other two goals for the Mustangs.

"We felt like if we played them the same way we did in the regular season - putting pressure on them, finding Michael Green - we felt we'd be all right," Strongsville coach Tobey Cook said.

Perrysburg's opportunities didn't come often against a Strongsville defense that hasn't allowed a goal during the postseason.

The Mustangs have outscored their playoff opponents 12-0 through four matches.

"We missed on a couple of opportunities and they did a nice job of finishing opportunities," Timbrook said.

"They're not sixth-ranked for nothing."

Perrysburg and Strongsville remained scoreless until the 29th minute when Chad Kulchar banged a shot past Perrysburg goalie Alex Alexa off an assist from Green. The Mustangs took the 1-0 lead into halftime.

Green made it 2-0 when he delivered on a breakaway goal from 15 yards out past the outstretched arms of Alexa in the 48th minute of the match.

Andrew Balzer scored the final goal off a pinpoint pass from Green with just over 12 minutes left.

"Overall, Strongsville is a very talented team," Timbrook said. "We knew coming in we'd have to watch Green. He's a great player. They play very direct and he did a nice job."

The Mustangs kept Alexa plenty busy in goal for the Yellow Jackets. Alexa recorded 10 saves while Strongsville goalie A.J. Reed made three.

"They were very fast and took us out of our game," Timbrook said.

"It was a soggy field and not great footing, but they did a nice job of pressuring us."

The last time the Yellow Jackets and Mustangs met in the postseason was the 2001 regional title match in which Perrysburg prevailed 2-1 in a shootout, earning the Yellow Jackets a trip to the state tournament in Columbus.

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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