by Steve Batko | Correspondent
Broadview Heights — Team play and outstanding team defense enabled the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy boys soccer team to advance to a Division II regional championship game.
The Royals (13-6) were hoping for another deep run to the state meet after posting a 4-1 victory over Cortland Lakeview in a regional semifinal match Oct. 31 at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.
It was an impressive win over the high-scoring Bulldogs (18-2) as CVCA continued a postseason run that included wins over Ohio’ No. 1-ranked club in Richfield Revere and a win over third-ranked Akron Archbishop Hoban.
“This group is committed to getting better every day and every game and I think we did that against a well-organized team in Lakeview,” said Royals head coach Jon Taylor.
CVCA was scheduled to play Hunting Valley University in a regional title contest Nov. 3 at Nordonia High School in Macedonia. Results were not available at press time.
The Royals, ranked eighth in Ohio’s final Division II poll, has captured state championships in 2004, 2007 and 2010.
All of those titles for CVCA came at the Division III level. This year’s Division II state tournament semifinals are set for Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at a site to be announced.
The state final is scheduled to take place Nov. 10 at Columbus Crew Stadium. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m.
“I think we are playing well as a team and you can see on the kids’ faces that they enjoy playing together as a team,” said Taylor. “The guys value each other and they do that with their play.”
Sophomore Ben Locke scored two of the Royals’ goals against Lakeview.
Taylor didn’t expect or see any drop of intensity after the win over 2011 state runner-up Revere.
Locke scored the first goal in the lower right net at the 28-minute, 38-second mark of the first half on a cross from junior Sam Meszaros, a Tallmadge resident.
As the Royals outshot Lakeview 8-3 in the first half, CVCA senior goalkeeper Chad Prtenjak made a strong save on a shot by midfielder Anthony Sember with 7:02 left in the first half.
Despite a steady rain on a cold night, the Royals broke loose for three goals in the second half, but more importantly, shut down a potent Lakeview offense.
Lakeview, which lost to Champion (2-1) earlier in the season, scored 115 goals this season.
CVCA controlled the midfield and the defense spread out Lakeview.
The Royals also shut down the Bulldogs’ prolific scorer, Colton Ainsley. The junior forward entered the game with 39 goals.
With 26:22 left, Lakeview finally scored to make it 3-1 as Ainsley had a shot that was deflected and midfielder Austin Olbrych got the carom and scored off the top crossbar.
“We tried to keep the ball moving and we did a great job of team defending,” said Taylor. “Ainsley is a good player and we did well against him.”
Locke’s second goal came at the 29:41 mark of the second half and made it 2-0.
His kick hit the left corner of the nets, off of the fingertips of outstretched goalie Clay Becker.
Sophomore Collin Surface, a Tallmadge resident, scored for the Royals to make it 3-0 at the 27:54 mark.
The Royals’ final score came on a nice two-on-one run when Hayden Kaiser scored on a dish from junior Tim Andrassy. Prtenjak had five saves.