Defense will take Twinsburg’s boys soccer team as far as it can go, but the Tigers will need to continue to find ways to score to help to advance in district tournament play.
Another sensational defensive effort came in the Tigers’ 1-0 shutout over host Walsh Jesuit in the Solon Division I sectional championship Saturday.
When senior Tiger forward Connor Gantous scored the game’s only tally early on at Walsh off a feed by attacking sophomore midfielder Uleto Fuentes, it was the defense of the Tigers that had to seal the win.
Mike Lally was excited to get the early lead off a pass from the left-footed Fuentes on a throw in.
Twinsburg (10-5-2), the fifth seed just behind Walsh, advanced to play in Divsion district semifinal at top seed Hudson (11-5-3) Wednesday,
A few weeks ago, Hudson edged the Tigers 3-2 in league play. The district finals are set for Saturday at 4 p.m.
"We had a great win over a quality opponent in Walsh and we are obviously very familiar with Hudson," stressed Lally.
The Tigers are the road underdogs – something Lally has faced before thought his 28-year stint.
"It’s great to play over there and to meet a rival," he added. "We feel that we can get some goals, but it will be a challenge to keep their scorers down. The (Hudson players) are talented."
A recipe is present as the Tigers posted their 10th shutout of the season over the Warriors (10-4-2).
In fact, since Twinsburg’s first two games this fall against powerhouse Cleveland St. Ignatius and Solon (the second seed in Twinsburg’s district), the Tigers have posted a goals against average of 1.0.
"Our defense has been very good," offered Lally.
Having a banner campaign, sophomore keeper Connor Stuchal had a critical save in the first half at Walsh.
"Connor has been doing a good job for us and he made a huge save in the first half against a dangerous Walsh team," explained Lally. "We had a difficult time with their wings and we got more pressure in a second half."
Much of the second half was a physical test for both clubs as the flow and offensive opportunities were minimized.
"Our back line has been playing well and that was the best they have done all year – they were winning the battles," pointed out Lally.
Lally praised the work of junior David Gebeau and sophomore Connor Carroll, plus senior center backs Jaylon Hunt and Nick Lesko.
Twinsburg beat 12th seed Bedford (9-6-3) by a 9-0 score in the sectional opener Oct. 16. It was 6-0 at the half.
Some of the more impressive goals in the victory, according to Lally, came from Fuentes, Lesko, and junior Jason Karhoff.
Lesko opened up the scoring and the barrage continued.
Last season, Twinsburg lost in the sectional final to third-seeded Solon.