By Ryan Kaczmarski
The Bay High School boys varsity soccer team won the West Shore Conference, the Rocky River sectional and district titles, took the Region 6 championship and came within one game of the Division II state championship, but Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy stood in its way, as the Royals defeated the Rockets, 3-0, in the state semifinal game last Wednesday at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.
CVCA took the lead in the first half on a goal by sophomore midfielder Ben Locke, who tallied a hat trick, scoring the Royals’ three goals in the game.
“Hats off to (Locke),” Bay head coach Bobby Dougherty said. “The kid stepped up in a big game. For a kid to step up this big, in a game like this, you have to tip your hat.
“CVCA did a wonderful job tonight,” he added. “They played better than we did; they deserve (the victory).”
After starting the season with three losses, the Rockets finished with an overall record of 14-5-3 and a postseason record of 5-1, which are records Dougherty is proud of.
“We’re thrilled (with the season),” he said. “(Assistant coach Sean Egan) asked me, ‘After game three, would you be satisfied with losing in the state semifinal?’
“Yeah, it really hurts, but I’m thrilled with the boys. What an effort they put in (this season), and you can’t ask for more.”
Senior goalkeeper Koray Sayir gave up his first goal of the postseason in the first half of the state semifinals game, before having to leave the game due to injury. He was not at 100 percent, incurring a shoulder injury in the regional finals game against Ottawa-Glandorf, and receiving a cortisone shot to relieve the pain.
“He doesn’t train on Monday; he gets a cortisone shot on Tuesday,” Dougherty said. “It was a stellar effort (by Sayir). What a great job he did. What a great year he had for us. He kept us in it, and when he walked off the field it’s 2-0. If we get one (back), the game turns into a carnival. It’s just that the carnival never started tonight.
“Koray is a rock star,” he added. “He grew up so much this year. We were thrilled to have him (in goal). If it wasn’t for him – in the Ottawa-Glendorf game – we would not have been here today.”
After Sayir left the game, sophomore Colin Southerington took over in net for the rest of the game.
“We never skipped a beat,” Dougherty said of putting in Southerington. “The kid wasn’t terrified or scared. You throw a new goalkeeper into the heat of the mix – he had to face a corner kick right away – and he comes out clean and punched the ball out.
“We tell our goalkeepers all the time that you have to be freakishly good in the playoffs.”
Dayton Carroll High School defeated CVCA, 2-0, in the Division II state championship game.