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 entered the game as the sixth-ranked Division II team in the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association state poll.
"Aurora is a good team and you have to play well against good teams," CVCA head coach Angelo Finelli said. "We made some mistakes and they capitalized on it. That’s how it goes sometimes."
The Greenmen got their 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.
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 Royals’ goalie JD Byerly with a low line drive into the opposite corner of the net.
CVCA 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 Royals’ corner kick. Hoff made four saves in the nets. Byerly made one save for CVCA (6-2), which had a 4-3 advantage in shots on goal.
"You want to put yourself in positions to be able to score," Finelli said. "You just have to finish it. We got in positions to score, but we just didn’t capitalize. Against good teams, you can’t do that."
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.
"We like to play good teams," Finelli said. "We try to schedule good teams all year to make us better and expose what we need to work on. We like playing Aurora because they expose what we need to work on, make us work hard and show us things we can do better."
Finelli knows a far more important rematch could be in store for the two Northeast Ohio juggernauts down the road. He also knows his team has a few leaks to fix.
"The guys really work hard," Finelli said. "Our goal is to be better than we were the day before. For a long season, you can’t just say, ‘All right, this is what we want to do at the very end.’ It has to be day by day.
"Sometimes, it doesn’t happen and when you have to come back the next day, you have to do what you did before better than that and not make the same mistakes over and over again."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.