If you listen real hard, you might be able to hear it. As you get closer to Stewart Field in Solon, it gets louder and louder. It's not what you may think. It isn't the sound of a touchdown, an interception, or even a long run. It's not THAT sport in Solon you are hearing the cheers for. It's another sport for the Comets, and it's the roar for attention. Finally, people have noticed, and finally, it's a team that is getting the recognition it has earned.
Solon boys soccer is the best team in Solon this fall season
Soccer? In Solon? Really?.... The answer is a resounding YES. In a city that lives and dies by the success or failure of its football team every fall, the soccer team has given fans of Solon sports another reason to go to Stewart Field. Its a classic case of a program that has gotten better and better every year, and has built stability not only for this year, but for years to come.
Building a program.... How did Solon get to this point? The answer is that they finally put an emphasis on travel and Premier soccer. With youth groups starting as young as eight years old, they developed these kids from a young age and are just starting to reap the benefits. It has provided a wealth of players, giving Solon the all important depth in talent that is needed to be a top notch program.
What makes this team so special?.... The root of success of this year's team may have taken place even before the season started. This summer, in a pre-season camp, they took on Dayton Carroll, a Division II school, that was riding a 60 game regular season win streak, and came away with a tie. Its the same Dayton Carroll team that is currently ranked second in the state in Division II. Also in the pre-season, the Comets took on Massillon Jackson, and played them to a tie. Yes, its the same Massillon Jackson that is currently ranked second in the Division I state poll. The seed was planted in the players minds that this team could take the program to places they have never been.
The schedule does them no favors.... Taking a look at the Comets schedule would give anyone a headache. It's tough enough playing in the Northeast Ohio Conference, but to then throw in soccer heavyweights for your out of conference games, the fans of the program had to feel as if Solon may have bitten off more than they could chew. Games against Medina (8th in the state), St. Ignatius (5th in the state), Strongsville (2 time state champions), St. Edward (15th in the state), Aurora, Mentor, and Hudson would test the Comets early and often.
The team has responded and then some
As of this week, Solon sports a 6-1-5 record against that brutal schedule. After dropping a 2-0 game to St. Ignatius to start the season, a game in which Solon dominated the action, the Comets have put the clamps down defensively. Led by sophomore goalkeeper Will Meyer, and sophomore defenders Jacob Brent and Achuth Nair, Solon has allowed just seven goals in twelve games this season. After a 1-0 victory over previously undefeated St. Edward last week, Meyer, a starter on the varsity baseball team last season as a freshman, earned high praise from the opposing coach:
Their goalkeeper came up huge in the last 15 minutes of the game when we were getting the ball in there. We got the ball in the penalty box and he just took the ball off of us. That’s what a goalkeeper is supposed to do.........St. Edward coach Jim Duffy
That doesn't mean that Solon can't score. They have outscored their opponents 23-7 through their first twelve games. They are led by three seniors in three year starter Scotty Welker, the team's leading scorer, Ethan Dunn, and Ryan Adkins. They are three of a group of ten seniors, giving the Comets valuable experience. The cupboard is nowhere near bare after their graduation next year. Junior speedster Jon King is a valuable varsity contributor this year, along with fellow juniors Noah Berko and Stephen Dayneka. Sophomores Josh Baskind and Jacob Shannon add to the already loaded sophomore class with the aforementioned Meyer, Brent, and Nair. Solon also a future star in the making in freshman Drake Perry, who has already found the back of the net at the varsity level. Throw in the fact that the Comet JV team is at 8-4 through twelve games despite the many underclassmen playing at the varsity level, and the program looks like it is on very steady ground for the next few years.
Know what the scary part is? The Comets have rarely been healthy. Welker, Dunn, and Adkins have all missed time due to injury. It's a tribute to the depth of talent Solon has that they have been able to put together the record they have.
What's next for Solon?.... The Comets take on always tough Mentor tomorrow night hoping to keep their unbeaten streak alive. Then the state tournament arrives. After being knocked out the last two years by Aurora, a team that Solon tied earlier this year, Solon has to be looking forward to getting another crack at the Greenmen. This is a different Solon team. This is one where they truly believe they can do special things.
We feel that we can compete with, and beat, any team in the state.......sophomore Josh Baskind
That roar you hear on Inwood Drive in Solon? It may not be for attention anymore. It may be for a team as good as any in the state of Ohio.