by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Tallmadge -- Jerry Shutway and Steve Davis aren't strangers to one another.
"We go way back," Shutway said. "We coached together at Revere 20 years ago."
On Oct. 12, the two longtime friends got together again at a place they've called home for many years: a soccer field.
When it was over, both men admitted they were hoping for a different result. That's because neither of them left the field a winner.
The host Tallmadge girls soccer team earned a 0-0 draw against Aurora at Thomas Rossiaky Stadium.
Shutway is the head coach of the Lady Greenmen and Davis is the head coach of the Lady Blue Devils.
Both teams had some chances, particularly Aurora down the stretch. But neither squad could find the back of the net during the Suburban League American Conference showdown.
"It was what I expected," Shutway said. "We knew it was going to be a battle.
"I know Steve very well. We're good friends. He has done a fantastic job with that team."
The Lady Greenmen (7-3-3, 3-1-1) had Tallmadge on its heels late in the game.
With approximately 90 seconds left, Aurora sophomore forward Sydney Trem had a shot from point-blank range in the Blue Devils' penalty box.
Trem blasted the ball with her right foot into what looked like an open net. However, out of nowhere, Tallmadge senior defender Madison "P-Nut" Rearick raced toward the goal line and was able to deflect Trem's shot out of her own goal.
"That was a great save by P-Nut," Davis said. "That's the first game we've had where we didn't score a goal."
The Lady Greenmen, who had more chances to score than the Blue Devils in the second half, also let a few golden opportunities slip not long after halftime.
Four minutes into the second half, Aurora sophomore forward Taylor Burick had a header hit the crossbar. Senior forward Jenna Geier's follow shot was saved by Tallmadge sophomore goalkeeper Maria Kisha.
Unfortunately for Geier, her season may be in jeopardy.
Later in the half, she slipped on the field and injured her ankle.
"It might be broken," Shutway said. "This is the absolute wrong time for this to happen. She is probably our best forward."
The Lady Blue Devils had some chances to break the scoreless tie, too.
With approximately five minutes left in the game, senior forward Rochelle Haught had a shot saved by Lady Greenmen junior goalie Olivia Conces.
In the first half, Tallmadge (9-1-6, 0-1-5) dictated play for much of the way.
The Lady Blue Devils were able to string a few passes together and get deep in Aurora's territory.
But the Lady Greenmen managed to get in front of a Tallmadge attacker in the box or prevent the Lady Blue Devils from getting a clean shot from close range.
If Tallmadge got that rare clean shot, Conces came to the rescue.
With about 8:30 left in the half, Conces made a diving stop on a hard shot from point-blank range by Lady Blue Devils' senior defender Morgan Reese.
"I thought we scored in the first half," Davis said. "They had a really good keeper. She made some miraculous saves."
Aurora seemed content shooting the ball from deep in the first 40 minutes. As a result, the Lady Greenmen rarely invaded Tallmadge's box.
"Our style is to pass the ball often," Shutway said. "Since Tallmadge was so organized in the back, we couldn't do that. They were able to pressure us in the middle."
Shutway also was impressed with his defense. At times, it was quite a handful for Aurora to stay with the Lady Blue Devils' fast players up top.
"We had a little bit of trouble in the first half," Shutway said. "We were giving them too much space. I thought we handled that in the second half. We were able to limit their space."
Conces finished with six saves and Kisha stopped three shots. Tallmadge had a 4-3 advantage in shots on goal, while Aurora had a 5-3 edge in corner kicks.
Fatigue may have played a bit of a role against the Lady Greenmen.
Some 48 hours earlier, the host Lady Blue Devils earned a 3-1 victory over Norton Oct. 10.
"We just had an emotional win over Norton two days earlier," Davis said. "They played really well in that game. I think they were a little tired [Oct. 12]."
Junior forward Riley Chochola scored twice for the Lady Blue Devils (9-1-5) and Reese scored once.
Junior midfielder Adison Onchak added two assists and Haught had one assist.
Kisha finished with three saves.
Tallmadge had a 7-4 advantage in shots on goal. The Lady Panthers had a 6-0 advantage in corner kicks.
The Lady Blue Devils posted a 4-1 win in the junior varsity game.
Tallmadge received the third seed in the Kent Division II sectional-district tournament.
Revere got the top seed and Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown and Lodi Cloverleaf received the second and fourth seeds, respectively.
The Lady Blue Devils earned an opening-round bye and are scheduled to entertain the Beachwood-Cleveland Heights Beaumont winner in a sectional title game Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.