Aurora -- Having dispensed with its neighbor to the southwest (Hudson) in the district semifinal, the Aurora boys soccer team welcomed its neighbor to the northeast (Solon) in a Division I district final game Oct. 26.
Aurora and Solon were coming off dramatic wins in the semifinals. Aurora needed a last-second overtime goal to beat Hudson, while Solon defeated Twinsburg 7-6 in a penalty-kick shootout.
Unfortunately for Aurora, there was no such drama in the district finale.
Solon managed a 4-0 win on a chilly night at Veterans Stadium to advance to the Division I regional semifinal Oct. 30 at Ravenna. The Comets recorded their first district title in boys soccer since 2006, avenging losses to Aurora in the playoffs in each of the last two years.
The Greenmen finished the season with a record of 12-3-4.
The difference in the game: Finishing scoring chances. Solon finished with only a 6-5 edge in shots on goal, but put four of them in the net.
Meanwhile, when the locals attacked, they were either thwarted by Solon goalkeeper Will Meyer or their shots went wide. Meyer finished with four saves. "We just did not finish tonight," said Aurora coach Chris Gentille. "We created a bunch of chances to make it 2-1 in the first half, but we just kept missing chance after chance, and you can't do that at this level. The deeper you go in a game, the harder it is to score."
Aurora seemed to be possessing the ball better early, but a pair of free kicks gave Solon the lead.
IN THE 23RD minute, Solon midfielder Noah Berko took a free kick from about 30 yards out. His ball was headed off the back post and back into the six-yard box, where Ethan Dunn tapped it in from close range.
Then in the 29th minute, Berko took another free kick from virtually the same spot. He put the shot on net and the dipping ball went just under Aurora goalkeeper Justin Pavlick to make it 2-0.
"We made two mistakes in the first half and they took advantage of both," Gentille summarized. "We usually show more discipline and don't give up free kicks in our end. We haven't done that all year and it killed us."
Down 2-0 at the half, Gentille said he switched his team to a 3-4-3 formation for the second half.
"We pretty much threw the kitchen sink into the attack," Gentille said.
However, Solon landed two knockout blows midway through the second half. In the 56th minute, a Ryan Adkins through ball allowed Scott Welker to make a surging run into the box. Welker shot low into the corner of the net to make it 3-0.
Two minutes later, Aran Tosunyan set up Jonathan King in the box and King shot low into the net to make it 4-0.
Aurora had several late chances to at least put one goal on the board, only to see its shots trickle just wide."Some matches it seems like everything goes in and some matches you just can't buy a goal," Gentille said.
Gentille paid tribute to his outgoing seniors, noting the class of 2014 leaves with two Chagrin Valley Conference titles, four sectional titles, three district titles and last year's state semifinal berth to its credit.
"No class has had that kind of success at Aurora," Gentille said. "The senior class has been phenomenal."
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