Copley, Manchester, was in the OHSAA state soccer semifinals
Copley manager Wally Senk and Manchester manager Eddie Kissner are in favour.
Both teams play in their first state semifinals in the history of their respective programs on Tuesday night.
Copley (20-0-1) plays Bay Village Bay (17-3-0) in a Division II semifinal match at Nordonia High School‘s Boliantz Stadium on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.
Manchester (21-1-0) will play Ottawa-Glandorf (19-1-2) in a Division III semi-final at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Mansfield Madison Comprehensive Stadium.
Copley girls’ soccer at a glance
Copley enters Tuesday as the No. 1 team in the Division II state coaches poll and Bay is No. 4.
The Copley starting lineup consists of five seniors in Allie Arnold, Megan Brewer, Ashley Kerekes, Gabby Niemczura and Emma Stransky.
The other starters are juniors Kami Ayoup, Colleen Bauer, Emily Kerekes, Sydney Leach and Kate Young, and sophomore Emma Niemczura.
Stransky leads Copley with 39 goals and 19 assists and Ashley Kerekes has 33 goals and 22 assists.
Other solid scorers for Copley include Young (20 goals, 14 assists); Allie Arnold (seven goals, 19 assists) and Emily Kerekes (nine goals, nine assists).
Copley’s top reserves are senior Zara Warford and newcomers Sophie Arnold, Carina Frank, Maren Hider and Maddie Luecke.
“I’ve said that before, it’s one of the tightest teams I’ve ever had,” said Senk after the win over Lexington. “And a lot of that comes with determination. … They keep each other at a higher level every day in training and games.
“I’ve never had that before. I have to be honest, I’ve had good teams, I’ve had great players. This is the best team I’ve ever had and I think that’s because they’re so willing to listen to each other and ready to be held accountable.”
Stransky scored four goals in the 8-1 regional semifinals win over Lexington on November 1. Ashley Kerekes contributed two goals and Allie Arnold and Gabby Niemczura scored one goal each.
Stransky scored two more goals in Saturday’s 4-1 regional final win over St. Mary’s Memorial. Young and Bauer each contributed a goal.
Ayoup recorded 17 shutouts as a goaltender and Copley has bested his opponents this season by 125-4.
Manchester girls football at a glance
Manchester enter Tuesday as the No. 2 team in the Division III state coaches poll and Ottawa-Glandorf is No. 4.
Manchester’s starting line-up includes nine juniors in Emily Allman, Kennedy Boal, Carrie Clark, Madi Cox, Lauren Gunsett, Katie NorrisMyah Schaber, Grace Soles and Gina Tipton.
The other starters are sisters, senior Halle Craddock and college student Ellah Craddock.
Norris leads Manchester with 50 goals and 24 assists this season. Gunsett has 24 goals and 10 assists and Tipton has 24 goals and eight assists.
Manchester’s top reserves are juniors Rowan Olechnowicz and Jaydyn McKinney.
Gunsett scored in a 1-0 regional semifinals win over Chippewa on November 1 and Tipton scored in Saturday’s 1-0 overtime regional finals win against Poland Seminary. Norris assisted on both goals.
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Cox has recorded 13 shutouts as a goalkeeper and Manchester have outscored their opponents by 100-9 this season.
“This group, even as a youth, has always won championships no matter what level they played at,” Kissner said after the overtime win over Poland Seminary. “I just had a feeling that eventually they would find it [Saturday] and they did. They came through like they usually do.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Beaven on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ. Sportswriter Brad Bournival contributed to this article.
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