By Sara Welch | Correspondent
The Garfield boys soccer team captured the Kent Division III Sectional championship by defeating Waterloo 3-1 in Garrettsville on Saturday.
Outscoring the Vikings by a goal in both halves, the G-Men were led by Noah Reider and Ante Dejanovic up front.
Combining Dejanovic's finesse and speed with Reider's uncanny ability to control and place the ball created a deadly matchup for their opponent. Against the Vikings the pair proved to be unstoppable.
"They've been playing well all season. They are two very gifted players. The last couple weeks they've really been clicking. We're seeing a much high production now, late in the season, than we did earlier," Garfield head coach Mike Coney said.
Dejanovic found Reider in front of Waterloo's goal with 14:23 left in the first half, giving Garfield a 1-0 advantage after many failed scoring attempts.
"Waterloo did a really good job in the midfield, which made it more of a back-and-fourth game. I think we needed to be a little bit cleaner with our passes and maintain possession a little bit better," Coney said.
Garfield finished the game with 20 shots-on-goal, nearly doubling Waterloo's 11. However, out of 20 attempts only three of them found the back of the net. Colin Michalec headed the Vikings' defensive effort with 14 goalkeeper saves.
"Their (Waterloo's) goalie, Colin Michalec, and their sweeper, Josh Jenior, are both very talented players. Throughout the year, every time we've played them, they've really stymied us and done a great job. To break through them is a big accomplishment. We did very well today to do that. They are very good players," Coney said.
In the second half Garfield wasted no time netting the ball again, scoring with 29:01 left in the game on another Dejanovic-Reider connection. This time Dejanovic's assist was a header that once again set Reider up directly in front of the goal.
Reider made sure to pay his teammate back before the end of regulation, feeding Dejanovic the ball with 14:04 left. Following Dejanovic's goal, the G-men reached a comfortable 3-0 lead over the Vikings.
Waterloo avoided a possible shutout when Nathan Merchant netted the ball with just under five minutes in the game.
Moving forward, Garfield will play the winner of the LaBrea-Lordstown game and once again the G-men will have home-field advantage.