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Aurora -- Jerry Shutway and Steve Davis aren't strangers to one another. "We go way back," Aurora girls soccer coach Shutway said. "We coached together at Revere 20 years ago."
On Oct. 12, the two longtime friends got together again at a place they've called home for many years: a soccer field.
When it was over, both men admitted they were hoping for a different result, as the Aurora girls earned a 0-0 draw against Tallmadge.
Both teams had some chances, particularly Aurora down the stretch. But neither could find the back of the net during the Suburban League American Conference showdown.
On Oct. 15, the Greenmen closed out their regular season with a 1-1 tie against Madison. No results were available from the Suburban League contest against Copley.
"It was what I expected," Shutway said after the Tallmadge match. "We knew it was going to be a battle. I know Steve very well. He has done a fantastic job with that team."
The Greenmen (7-3-5, 3-1-1) had Tallmadge on its heels late in the game.
With about 90 seconds left, Aurora sophomore forward Sydney Trem had a shot from point-blank range in the Blue Devils' penalty box.
Trem blasted the ball with her right foot into what looked like an open net. However, out of nowhere, Tallmadge senior defender Madison "P-Nut" Rearick raced toward the goal line and was able to deflect Trem's shot out of her own goal.
"That was a great save by P-Nut," Davis said. "That's the first game we've had where we didn't score a goal."
The Greenmen, who had more chances to score than the Blue Devils in the second half, also let a few golden opportunities slip away.
Four minutes into the second half, AHS sophomore forward Taylor Burick had a header hit the crossbar. Senior forward Jenna Geier's follow shot was saved by Tallmadge's Maria Kisha.
Unfortunately for Geier, her season may be in jeopardy. Later in the half, she slipped on the field and injured her ankle.
"It might be broken," Shutway said. "This is the absolute wrong time for this to happen. She is probably our best forward."
The Blue Devils had some chances to break the scoreless tie, too, and in the first half, Tallmadge (9-1-6, 0-1-5) dictated play for much of the way.
But the Greenmen managed to get in front of a Tallmadge attacker in the box or prevent the Blue Devils from getting a clean shot.
If Tallmadge got that rare clean shot, keeper Olivia Conces came to the rescue.
With about 8:30 left in the half, she made a diving stop on a hard shot from point-blank range by Blue Devils' defender Morgan Reese.
"She [Conces] made some miraculous saves," Davis said.
"Our style is to pass the ball often," Shutway said. "Since Tallmadge was so organized in the back, we couldn't do that. They were able to pressure us in the middle."
Shutway also was impressed with his defense. "We had a little bit of trouble in the first half," he said. "We were giving them too much space. I thought we handled that in the second half. We were able to limit their space."
Conces finished with six saves and Kisha stopped three shots.
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