Bay falls one step short of return trip
Minutemen score four straight in shootout to oust Rockets
STRONGSVILLE >> Bay’s recordsetting season came to a heartbreaking end Nov. 7 when the top-ranked Rockets lost in a shootout, 3-2, to No. 5 Richfield Revere in a Division II state semifinal match.
Revere’s Andrew Cooke put the Minutemen on the board
first and Bay (18-2-2) found itself trailing in a match for the first time since Sept. 29. But standout junior Kyle Cusimano tied the game late in the first half and after trading a pair of goals in the second, the game was headed to overtime.
The Rockets dominated possession much of both overtime periods, including a near miss by senior Cade Gergye in the final five minutes, but Revere held them off to send the game to a shootout.
Bay went with Cusimano in goal rather than starting keeper Kevin Linder and Revere (17-2-3) scored four straight, including the gamewinner from Cooke, while the Rockets missed two of their three shots to miss out on back-to-back state final appearances.
Revere will face Summit Country Day on Nov. 10 in the D-II state championship game at MAPFRE Stadium.
“In the end, their goalkeeper was special in the shootout,” Bay coach Bobby Dougherty said. “He did a phenomenal job. He was like a cat.
“Cujo (Cusimano) is our best in the shootout. He jumps in there and you’re like, ‘Why would you change it?’ He’s normally a goalkeeper by trade which sounds ridiculous with all the goals that he has. We went with what we thought was our best goalkeeper and in the end we just didn’t finish. You got to put the PKs away.”
The Minutemen avenge an early season blowout loss at the hands of Bay in which Cooke said the team was not operating on full strength.
This time around, however, the junior said he and his teammates knew it’d be a completely different match.
“I think that first time we definitely did not come out (well),” Cooke said.
“(Bay) scored pretty early. We had some players including me missing from that game and I think now we’re a lot tighter of a group. We all had to prove so much throughout the season that we all knew coming into this game it’d be a lot different.”
Revere went with its same first five its practiced with all season, so Cooke knew he’d be in a position to put the game away when his number was called.
“I walked up there, just didn’t pay attention to anything but the ball,” he said. “I honestly didn’t hear anything. I kept it all out and I just went with the spot I always had and it went in.
“I’m just a little astonished, excited. I didn’t really know what to do...I was just jumping up and down, running all over the place. I’ve never felt like that.”
The Rockets end the season having set the record for most wins, points and goals in a season in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the young side.
Despite feeling like the game would be much more competitive than the first time around, the loss is especially disappointing for Bay in that Dougherty maintains his team was the better team in the end.
“In the first game we were lights out. We scored two goals in the first five minutes. It throws it in complete disarray,” he said.
“We know they’re better than that . ... For this thing to go back and forth is exactly what we expected. In the end I thought we were still the better team but you’ve got to score more.”
Bay’s Kyle Cusimano is tripped up by Revere’s Trent Rorabaugh on Nov. 7. The play resulted in a penalty kick and the Rockets’ first goal.