AURORA — They could meet again in a far more prestigious contest.
But the Greenmen won round one.
The host Aurora boys soccer team earned a 2-0 victory over Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy Saturday at Veterans Stadium.
The Royals are the sixth-ranked Division II team in the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association state poll.
After the game, Greenmen head coach Jason Bibza couldn’t have been more thrilled with the end result. At the same time, he hopes these kinds of statements can become commonplace for his team the rest of the season.
"We hope this is something that can turn us around a little bit," Bibza said. "We needed a big positive. This is our biggest win of the season. Hopefully, this will carry us through a little bit and give the guys belief that we’re a pretty good team. When things are clicking, we can play with anyone."
Aurora got its first goal on a left-footed shot by Hayden Hall. Alex Bibza passed the ball to Hall on the left side. Hall took a few dribbles before finishing inside the penalty box a little more than 20 minutes into the first half.
"Hayden hit a great shot low and hard," Coach Bibza said. "It was a fantastic finish."
Aurora (6-3) made it 2-0 with less than 17 minutes left when Bibza played the ball to Jimmy Miller on the right side. Miller had nothing but green turf in front of him as he easily beat CVCA goalie JD Byerly with a low line drive into the opposite corner of the net.
"Jimmy stayed with it and hit it," Coach Bibza said. "Jimmy has been right on the edge of goals. It was great to see him knock one in."
The Royals had plenty of chances in the final 20 minutes of the first half, but the Greenmen got a stellar game from their defense and goalkeeper Ethan Hoff.
Aurora had some balls cleared from deep in its own territory, including a bicycle kick by Alex Bibza near the end line moments after a CVCA corner kick. Hoff made four saves in the nets. Byerly made one save for the Royals (6-2), who had a 4-3 advantage in shots on goal.
"The boys just played super, super hard," Bibza said. "I give them a lot of credit. It was a little ugly for a lot of the time. We were absorbing pressure quite a bit.
"They [the Royals] move the ball really well. They created their own chances. They didn’t finish their chances and that’s how the game of soccer goes."
The Greenmen have played at a high level for much of the season. Nevertheless, Aurora had trouble putting the cherry on top of their numerous golden opportunities in previous games.
That was not the case Saturday.
"The difference for us, which is what we’ve been saying all season, is just a matter of finishing our chances," Coach Bibza said. "[Saturday], we got a few opportunities and we made them count.
"You don’t get points for how many minutes you have it in their end or how many minutes they have it in our end. You get points for sticking the thing in the back of the net.
"Goals change games. Getting that first goal made a difference and that second goal really changed it and then we were able to play low pressure defensively. Once we did that, they didn’t really have a chance."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.