Twinsburg girls soccer remains unbeaten vs. tough schedule

Steve Batko
Correspondent
Twinsburg midfielder Breanna Utrup (23), shown here earlier this season against Cuyahoga Falls, scoring the lone goal in the Tigers' 1-0 win over North Royalton Sept. 9.

Even though the Twinsburg girls soccer squad is facing top-notch competition, it is still an evaluation period for the coaching staff.

Veteran head coach John Garber isn’t complaining – that’s just how it is this fall due to COVID-19.

With an impressive mix of staunch defense and attacking offense, Twinsburg moved to 6-0 this season with a 3-0 victory over Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown Sept. 12 at Tiger Stadium.

Now more than ever, Garber is still assessing his personnel and looking at his roster.

“I think a lot of coaches are probably echoing that it’s tough because we did not have those four scrimmages for evaluations, but I do think that it’s starting to feel like a normal season,” Garber explained.

Sterling sophomore keeper Alexis Cellura posted another shut out for Twinsburg in the win over Hathaway Brown, a perennial stronghold.

It was Cellura’s fifth shutout of the season.

Garber was quick to point out the back line and the team’s work on the defensive end is just that – a team focus. He is still impressed by his young keepers’ makeup on the field and behind the nets.

“As a sophomore, Cellura’s development and growth has been extremely sharp from her experience starting as a freshman,” Garber pointed out.

“I think her communication is a great strength as she really helps the defense with her communication skills.”

Twinsburg’s goals were by senior forward Madi Kostal, senior midfielder Lana Furniss and junior Emily Patrzyk.

Assists were credited to exciting underclassmen in Patrzyk, plus sophomores Jaydn Harris and Brenna Utrup. The Tiger’s junior varsity team registered a big 7-0 victory.

Twinsburg hosts Brecksville in a league match Sept. 16, plays at Stow-Munroe Falls in a league battle Sept. 23, and hosts perennial power Massillon Jackson Sept. 26 in non-league action. The Stow and Brecksville games have a 7 pm start time while the Jackson contest kicks off at 1 pm at Tiger Stadium.

Controlling the movement and pace, the Tigers finally scored when Utrup had a tally with seven minutes remaining to give Twinsburg a 1-0 league victory on Senior Night Sept. 9 over North Royalton.

For much of the game Twinsburg controlled the midfield and had a solid attack.

Patience paid off for Twinsburg as the win had some meaning against a quality opponent.

It was a victory that avenged last fall’s 2-0 loss to the Bears that bumped Twinsburg out of contention for a Suburban League National Conference championship.

Thanks to Utrup’s goal on a feed from Harris, the Tigers are 3-0 in the league as Cellura had another big shutout.

“It says a lot about the resolve of our team and our seniors to defeat North Royalton, which is always a good team,” stressed Garber. “North Royalton cost us the championship last year with that win so this was an important win for our team.”

A large senior class contributed to another huge victory for the Lady Tigers.

Seniors for the Tigers include defender Jessica Davis, midfielder Sammi DiMuzio, defender Liv Eglar, defender Tara Gairing, forward Jordan Johnson, Furniss, midfielder Mia Blackburn, midfielder Haley Boger and Kostal.

“We have nine seniors and this was an important game for them and they all saw significant minutes,” commented Garber. “It is a great group of kids.”

Garber’s staff includes varsity assistant coach Maria DeFranco while Rob Harrison is a varsity assistant coach and head JV coach.