by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
Sandusky -- Usually, when folks from suburban Toledo and suburban Cleveland travel to Cedar Point, it's a pleasure trip.
However, when the contingents from Aurora and Sylvania Southview descended on Cedar Point Stadium in Sandusky Nov. 7, it was serious business.
The winner of the contest would claim its first trip to the Division I boys soccer state title game in school history.
The game went deep into the second overtime, but Southview scored the winning goal in the 107th minute when Cougars forward Jared Yoshino scored to win the game 1-0.
Southview advance to the Division I state title game, while Aurora's dream season ended at 16-4-2.
Aurora was looking to become the first Portage County-based team in history to reach a state soccer title game.
Aurora coach Chris Gentile tried to comfort his players after the contest, but noted the Greenmen could be proud of their season.
"It was a great run. It was a fun run," Gentille said. "This is the greatest team that has ever come through this program and this program has been around for a long time."
"I don't think we were anywhere near as sharp as we were against St. Edward or against Jackson," Gentille said. "They played five in the back and we'd knew they'd play five in the back. We had to attack; we had to be patient. We played super hard, but we just weren't crisp."
Southview did play a 5-4-1 formation and allowed Aurora to come forward most of the match.
Aurora finished with a 9-3 edge in shots on goal, but Southview did a good job of limiting most of Aurora's offense to outside shots.
Meanwhile, the Cougars seemed to get most of their best chances off set pieces, including long throws. Midfielder Jared Lyle proved to be a major weapon for Southview, as his throws caused chaos in the box.
Aurora's best chance in regulation came in the 61st minute, thanks to great run from midfielder Trevor Wendel, the hero of Aurora's regional final win over St. Edward.
Wendel made a cutting run to the near post and puts a low shot in, only to be denied on a great diving stop by Southview keeper Eric Breeden.
Breeden had a solid night as he finished with nine saves.
After defending through most of regulation, Southview seemed to have a big more attacking impetus in the first overtime. However, the Cougars did not managed into a shot on goal.
Heading into the second overtime, Gentille decided to switch to a 4-3-3 formation to give his team more space on the wings.
"When you play against a 5-4-1, you've got to attack on the outside," Gentille said. "We just kept attacking through the middle. They took away what we do best."
The game looked certain to be headed to a penalty kick shootout until the critical moment happened in the 107th minute.
Southview got a throw-in along the sideline and Lyle again threw it long.
"I think we got caught out a little on that throw-in," Gentille said. "Our sweeper tried to cut him off, but they got behind us."
Yoshino got behind the Aurora defense and sprinted toward the end line.
Greenman keeper Justin Pavlick attempted to close down the angle at the near post, but Yoshino squeezed the ball past Pavlick, ending the game thanks to the golden goal overtime rule.
"It was a great shot and great goal," Gentille said. "Our guys don't have anything to be ashamed of. They're going to remember this year for a long time."