By Kevin Prise
The Medina girls soccer team hasn't had a perfect season, and head coach Mike Lepkyj would be the first to admit that. The coach predicted before the season that his team would take its lumps, and it certainly has, finding itself near the bottom of the league in Niagara-Orleans League play.
But Tuesday was Senior Day for the Lady Mustangs at Veterans Park, and Lepkyj's squad burst out of the gate with plenty of fire and intensity. Medina had no intentions of losing a game that served as a tribute to its seniors' hard work over the years, and the result lived up to the occasion. The Lady Mustangs jumped out to a three-goal halftime lead and added two more in the second half to defeat CSAT 5-0.
Medina improves to 4-7 in league play, while CSAT falls to 1-10.
"We were just getting the ball deep, getting into the corners and playing back-door," Lepkyj said. "It's the key to our success, and we did it well."
Medina opened the scoring on an early goal by senior captain Taylor Miller, and built its halftime edge on goals by eighth-grader Destiny Szatkowski and senior captain Emilee Austin.
Miller made the score 4-0 on a direct kick with just over 30 minutes left in the second half. The captain's accuracy was so precise on the tally that CSAT defenders were heard remarking to each other, "That was a nice goal," during the Medina celebration.
Miller has been one of Medina's most reliable scoring threats throughout the season, and Lepkyj said it's a testament to the diligence and work ethic she has displayed throughout her Lady Mustang career.
"Taylor makes great use of her skill set, and she works hard," Lepkyj said.
Austin rounded out the scoring with 6:32 to play, taking a crisp crossing pass in front of the net and making a clean strike. From there, the celebration was on, as the vocal crowd (including Medina boys soccer players) kept up a constant stream of cheers until the clock hit zero.
Senior goalkeeper Liz Meyer, a steady presence in net all season long, earned the shutout for the Lady Mustangs.
Despite the team's struggles, Medina still has an outside shot to host an opening-round playoff game, if it can come away with wins and/or ties in the regular season's final contests against Wilson, Akron and Roy-Hart.
Lepkyj allows that the task won't be easy. But if the Lady Mustangs can keep playing like they did on Senior Day, they just may have a shot.
"A couple of these guys, I've coached for seven years," Lepkyj reflected after the game. "And then a lot of them, I've had for four or five. I've known these kids for a long time, and they're going to be greatly missed."
Albion 3, Roy-Hart 1
ALBION — Abby Squicciarini scored three goals for the Lady Purple Eagles, as Albion defeated Roy-Hart in a Niagara-Orleans League girls soccer game on Tuesday evening.
Squicciarini got Albion on the board just four minutes into the game, on an unassisted goal. She scored again seven minutes later, on an assist from Mariah Elsenheimer.
"Abby moved real well off the ball tonight," Albion coach Bruce Blanchard said. "We gave her some good passes, and she was hitting the seams and making a lot happen."
Roy-Hart's Melissa Zakrzewski made the score 2-1 at the 20-minute mark of the first half, and that margin held up until intermission.
Squicciarini didn't have to wait long after halftime to notch the hat trick, scoring on an assist from Kayla Doyle less than five minutes into the second half.
Ellen Narburgh played the entire 80 minutes in goal for Albion, making two saves and earning her first complete-game victory of the season.
Narburgh battled a leg injury earlier in the season and was most recently out for almost three weeks with a concussion, Blanchard said, but she has now been back on the field for a week.
Albion improves to 9-3 overall, 8-3 in the league, as the regular season draws near its conclusion. Roy-Hart falls to 4-7 in the league.