by SARA WELCH | CORRRESPONDENT
The Aurora boys soccer team made their first trip to the regional finals a memorable one, and thus will make their first appearance in the state tournament.
The locals defeated St. Edward 1-0 on Nov. 3, clinching a Division I state semifinals berth against Sylvania Southview Nov. 7 at 7 at Sandusky High School.
"We just live by what we do all year," said coach Chris Gentille. "We play great defense, our goalkeeper is solid from the very beginning of the game and we always know we're going to get one [a goal].
"With Dalton Browsky and Nick Perez up top and Kevin Blackley, Trever Wendel and Prayag Jina in the middle, we know we're going to get at least one a game.
"Our back defenders Ethan Lovasz, Justin Frankmann, Anthony Brockway, Justin Pavlick and Joshua Hauman hold the line, and it turns into one of those games where we just have to grind it out."
St. Edward came out in the first half constantly attacking Aurora's defense, racking up 10 shots on goal, while the Greenmen managed only 4 shots. However, none of the opportunities ended up as goals.
"We knew this was going to be a great game because St. Edward has had a quality program for tons of years. They come out of a tough bracket with St. Ignatius and Mayfield, and we've played all of those teams so we know what it's about," Gentille said.
Led by goal keeper Pavlick, a tough Greenmen defense managed to keep the Eagles scoreless. He collected 13 saves.
"He's critical," Gentille said. Their goalkeeper Stuart Ford made three or four great saves in the first half and it was phenomenal. Nobody in the state makes those saves except for him."
The second half took off in a similar fashion as both teams fought to keep the other from gaining an advantage. However, the Greenmen maintained possession of the ball more often and passed it with finesse they lacked in the first period.
"One goal was going to win it, and we knew that at halftime," Gentille said. "We just needed to get better possession and better long balls, and that's what happened. We got a lot more possession and a lot more chances."
Wendel found the back of the net after receiving a pass from Browsky with 22:12 left. Wendel pushed past three Eagle defenders and sent the ball past Ford, giving Aurora the 1-0 lead.
"We knew if we kept chipping away, we'd get more chances than they would. We put more pressure on them than they did on us, and that was the difference," Gentille said.