Aurora -- It was arguably the greatest boys soccer season in Aurora High School history.
The Greenmen reached the Division I state semifinals for the first time before losing a 1-0 double-overtime match to Sylvania Southview at Cedar Point Stadium in Sandusky on Nov. 7. Aurora finished with a 16-4-2 record.
Aurora was 5-1-1 in the Chagrin Valley Conference, finishing second behind Hawken, which the Greenmen tied during the regular season.
"One of the things that made this team special -- and has been the case for awhile -- is that the boys play together in the Aurora United Soccer Club from the time they are 7 years old through high school," coach Chris Gentille said. "They learn how to play with each other. That cohesiveness and continuity can't be duplicated in any other scenario.
"The boys enjoyed training with each other and were very coachable throughout the season," he said. "Just as important, they had fun and didn't let their accomplishments affect the way they approached each match."
Gentille said the strength of his team was balance -- "22 players working together with nobody being selfish and worrying about individual stats, which really says a lot about the maturity and desire to succeed as a group.
"We really were amazed by the season as it unfolded. "We lost eight starters and 11 very good players from last year's squad and did not know what to expect. I really believe that the reality of getting to state final four in won't sink in for awhile for players and coaches."
GENTILLE SAID the district and regional tournaments were "so difficult that we really could not look farther ahead then the next game."
He said Walsh Jesuit, Solon, Hudson, Jackson and St. Edward "are all northeast Ohio soccer powerhouses and always field great squads. Each match just made our body of work for the year more special."
"The post-season is a grind," he added. "We just approached each practice and game with the same intensity as we did in August when we began preparing."
The memorable season came to an end following the state semifinal loss.
"Afterward, we told the boys that this season had been a success like no other," Gentille said. "The accomplishments will set the standard for every team that steps on the field in an Aurora uniform."
Gentille said the team's success was because of many players. He said players who received the bulk of the playing time in the 2012 season include:
Senior defenders Ethan Lovasz, Harry Baymiller, Justin Frankmann and Josh Hauman, midfielders Aaron Kimson and Kevin Blackley, along with juniors Prayag Jina, Trevor Wendel, Ben Lazor, Dalton Browsky, Conner Burns, Justin Pavlick, Tyler Singleton, Scott Sutton, Mathew Meyer and Ryan Studer, plus sophomores Nick Perez, Anthony Brockway and Scott Omalley.
"The responsibility of continuing the success of this program falls on every individual who wants to wear the jersey," Gentille added.
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