Twinsburg's boys soccer squad is seeded fifth in the tough Kent Roosevelt Division I sectional-district tournament and will use its outstanding defense to take the Tigers as far as they can go in the post season.
Mike Lally's team will open sectional play Oct. 19 against ninth seed Chagrin Falls Kenston 7 p.m. at home.
If the Tigers win, they will play a sectional championship game at second seed Aurora Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.
Aurora is a club that Twinsburg recently beat 1-0 behind that same staunch defense that Lally has had throughout his career.
"That was a big win over an Aurora team that was ranked fourth in Cleveland and we also played great defense in a big game against nationally-ranked Cleveland St. Ignatius," Lally noted.
In fact, Twinsburg is 10-5-1 overall and has registered eight shutouts this fall, paced behind an improving back line and three-year veteran senior keeper Carter Yee.
Twinsburg blanked visiting Beachwood (7-7-2) 4-0 Oct. 15, but the big match was the Oct. 13 non-league test at Ignatius.
With the bright lights on, the Tigers lost 2-1 at Wasmer Field against Ignatius (14-0-2), which was ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today's Super 25 National Poll earlier this season.
Lally is encouraged because his Tigers fought Ignatius to a 1-1 battle after giving up an early goal. Twinsburg was outshot 14-3.
"They are a really, really good team," said Lally. "Our defense has been playing very well and after giving up an early goal, we played extremely well."
"We tried to get the equalizer, but I was pleased how we kept our head and remained disciplined," Lally said.
In the win over Beachwood, junior forward Scott Loughley posted a career high with two goals.
"Scott plays a lot of junior varsity for us and it was great to see him lead us with two goals against a top seed in Division III that has reached the regional finals two years in a row," explained Lally.
Lally also had a lot of praise for versatile senior Jake Carinci and his overall play against Beachwood.
Yee had a strong game behind a great defense.
Against Beachwood, Yee had two saves to record his eighth shutout of the year. He had a 3-0 shutout Oct. 10 at home against Cuyahoga Falls.
"Carter (Yee) is a keeper with a lot of experience who is playing really well now," said Lally. "He has had some great reaction saves for us."
"We played attractive soccer against Falls and our senior class continues to provide leadership."
Besides Yee, the Twinsburg senior class is battle tested with Jake Carinci, Sean Silas, Tyler Gairing, Elijah Savitt, and Prit Patel.
Savitt had a goal and an assist in the win over Beachwood while junior Dan Bonsignore also scored for the Tigers.
Other assists for Twinsburg were credited to Gairing, sophomore Jon Szydlowski, and sophomore Jack Benak.
Silas had the goal against Ignatius. Yee posted nine saves against the deep Wildcats.
"We have done some good things this season, especially with our defense," explained Lally, who JV squad finished 12-2-1 this season.
As for a possible rematch against Aurora, Lally doesn't want to look past the Bombers, but these are clubs that the Tigers know pretty well and the coach will rely on his experienced players.
Three-year seniors include Savitt (first-team All-Suburban League), Yee (honorable mention All-league), Gairing (honorable mention All-Greater Cleveland), Patel, Carinci, and Silas.
In addition, second-team All-Suburban League junior Jason Stahlman is a three-year vet along with Danny Bonsignore (honorable mention All-Greater Cleveland), and junior Jonathon D'Isidoro.
Benak made honorable mention all-league in 2015 while sophomores like Szydlowski and Jacob Pruett have experience as well.