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Rebels bounce Vikings, Cardinal Mooney next

Crestview's Matt Deniro (7) drives the ball past LaBrae's Josh Biery (11) and Aiden Heeter (14) during a Div. III sectional semi-final, Tuesday. (Photo by Anthony Fiuza)

COLUMBIANA –With a trip to the Div. III district final on the line, Crestview boys soccer did not pull any punches as it dismantled LaBrae on Tuesday night, 9-0.

The top-seeded Rebels received a goal each from Carter Blakeman, Matt Deniro, Cutter Crane, Colt Crane and Mitchell Auer. Ryan Emch and Nick Novak each posted two goals. However, Novak got credit for one of his goals because LaBrae’s Dominic Bauer accidently kicked it into his own net.

“We saw they were pushing a really high line and so we had to sit back a little bit and wait,” Emch said about his team’s gameplan in the district semi-final. “Then, we had to use our speed and outrun their back line to get one-on-one matchups with the keeper, which helped us have shots on goal.”

This is the second time the Rebels (17-1) have routed the Vikings this season. Crestview topped them, 13-1, on Sept. 21.

With Crestview firing on all cylinders, the team still believes improvements are necessary.

“We have to improve on our touches and get cleaner passes. We have to improve our shooting percentage,” Rebels’ co-head coach Robert Auer said. “We also got caught with a lot of offsides.”

The chilly and damp weather wasn’t ideal for playing conditions, but Emch thought it was a good experience.

“We’re not used to these type of conditions, but it was nice to get that experience. We’re going to need that going into Saturday’s game with Cardinal Mooney,” Emch said.

Crestview co-head coach Riley Mackall said in times of great need, the Rebels must focus on the little things.

“When you get into the colder weather it gets tough not only on your body, but you have to be able to push through with your mental game as well,” Mackall said. “Having players with good fundamentals in times of stress is really important. We have to fall back on fundamentals.”

Last year, the Rebels tied Mooney in the final game of the regular season, 1-1.

The ninth-seeded Cardinals are 8-4-6 and haven’t lost a game since Sept. 30.

“They’ve played a lot of teams that we don’t know about. They’ve played a few teams that we’ve played,” Emch said. “They’re going to be a solid game.”

Crestview and Mooney both drubbed Newton Falls this year. But, the Rebels beat Boardman, which Mooney could not do.

Crestview should put up a fight in the district final. Not only is the club determined to win a championship, but it has different players who can score at any moment.

“It’s really good, because if you have one guy and the other team knows that they can pressure him and not let him score,” Emch added. “We have a whole lineup of people who can score. If one guy is marked, you have another guy who you know is going to make a run and put it in the back of the net.”

Crestview’s district final matchup with Cardinal Mooney takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Niles’ Bo Rein Stadium.

Game notes

• Crestview has not lost since Oct. 2. The Rebels have won six games in a row.

• Mooney went 16-3-4 last season and made it to the state final, where it lost to Mariemont, 4-1.

• Nick Novak is one shy of 50 goals for the season which more than Mooney’s entire team (42 total goals).

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