MEDINA — The soccer field at Medina is as flat as they come, but Elyria’s boys must have felt like they were running uphill in an 11-0 loss to the Bees on Tuesday.
Not exactly how Pioneers coach Phil Mariner wanted to start Northeast Ohio Conference play, even if it was a crossover game.
With R.J. Pereyra and Tony Ilievski sitting out the final game of a two-game suspension for red cards, Elyria (1-1-1) came out flat and was simply outmanned from one to 11 on the field.
“They have a deep collection of talent,” Mariner said. “Their eight subs are as good as their starters. They move to the ball and play off the ball well. They’re a very, very good team. We just got totally outclassed. Once we went down 3-0, it was tough.”
That Elyria went down three by intermission made things tougher as the Bees (4-0) leaned on Gareth Evison (2 goals, 3 assists) and Aaron Liezert (3 goals) often.
Where things really went haywire for the Pioneers was at the midfield position, as the unit kept Elyria forwards Bernabe Santo Domingo, Graham Smith and Grant Spieth completely off the board.
Not only in goals scored, but in shots as the Medina trio was so sharp, the only shot on goal for the Pioneers came from Bryce Ziegman with 2:12 remaining.
The shot was true, but an athletic Dean McNeil reached up and poked it over the top of the goal to preserve the shutout.
“We need to find some work offensively and all over,” Elyria sweeper Chris Comrie said. “That might be our best defense, keeping the ball up top.
“Medina is at the top of the class. They know what they’re doing. You saw it was going to be a tough game right off the bat. There’s no quit in them. We just need to fight back.”
At times it looked like the Pioneers were fighting with one arm as time and again Medina pounded the ball down Elyria’s goal mouth.
The Bees held a 22-1 shots-on-goal advantage and a 7-1 edge in corner kicks. In fact, the game could have been much worse had Medina not missed three open net shots, had three balls ricochet off the post, while having another goal disallowed.
That put Brandon Smith, Braidan Centeno, Jimmy Ilievski and Comrie on their heels right away. It also sent a message to the Pioneers that they were in for a long night.
“We talked about needing to start out 4-0 like this,” Medina coach Mark Malikowski said. “We wanted to put ourselves in position to be successful. This will give us some confidence for the tests coming up. We played really well.”
Elyria, on the other hand, moves to a game at Berea on Saturday with a few questions after a solid start against Brookside and Midview.
“Mentally, we have to get over this very fast,” Mariner said. “(Medina’s) midfield was very fast. (We) weren’t prepared and I’ll take the blame for that.
“We’ll move past this quick. We have to work more on our shaping and distribution of the ball.”
Contact Brad Bournival at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 11, Elyria 0
Elyria 0 0 — 0
Medina 3 8 — 11
FIRST — Med, Gareth Evison (penalty kick), 36:53; Med, Evison, 18:53; Med, Jake Geiger (Ross Cirincione), 10:20.
SECOND — Med, Aaron Liezert (Evison), 34:08; Med, Liezert (Evison), 32:54; Med, Liezert (Evison), 31:50; Med, Danny Murphy (Brandon Hough), 13:43; Med, Pete Byrnes (Nick Bavaro), 10:08; Med, Nick Everetts, 10:39; Med, Hough (Murphy), 3:10; Med, Mike Firlotte (Mike Mahin), 1:30.
Shots — Elyria 1, Medina 22. Corner kicks — Elyria 1, Medina 7. Saves — Tyler Ramirez (E) 5, Cedric Holt (E) 6, Zach Haynes (M) 0, Dean McNeil (M) 1.