Berkshire Wins in Critical Division Action
October 6, 2021 by Mason Cole

Berkshire senior Summer Larch has had many big moments in her soccer career, and scoring the go-ahead goal on senior night to give Berkshire a 1-0 lead over Cuyahoga Heights was a play she will never forget.

Game photos click here.

Berkshire senior Summer Larch has had many big moments in her soccer career, and scoring the go-ahead goal on senior night to give Berkshire a 1-0 lead over Cuyahoga Heights was a play she will never forget.

(The goal) felt pretty good,” Larch said, “but I couldn’t have done it by myself.”

Larch was one of the four seniors honored by Berkshire before her team’s 1-0 victory Sept. 30 over conference rival Cuyahoga Heights. Skyler Freiling, Riley Hornak and Kylie Neumore make up the rest of the Badgers senior class.

Berkshire’s victory improved its overall record to 9-2-3.

Head coach Ian Patterson credits his seniors for much of the Badgers’ success.

My seniors are a huge part of the team,” Patterson said. “They’re the four captains, all four of them started — and that’s not just a senior night thing. The four of them start almost every game. They’re great role players, they’re not selfish…they just want to win the game.”

Winning this game was not an easy task, either. Before the match, Cuyahoga Heights had a 5-0 record in the Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division. Berkshire knew they were in for a competitive bout.

The first half of the game was back and forth. Berkshire would position itself to score before being thwarted, then Cuyahoga Heights drove the ball down and was denied as well.

Ultimately, both teams would enter halftime scoreless. Patterson believes his team could have played better early in the game.

We came out in the first half and we were a little sluggish,” Patterson said. “Our first touches were sloppy; we were still creating chances, but they weren’t great looks.”

Despite the Badgers’ lack of early offense, they did get great production from their goalkeeper, sophomore Sarah Wendl. Cuyahoga Heights had opportunities to score throughout the game, but Berkshire was able to hold them scoreless thanks to the Wendl’s goalkeeping.

Her many critical saves included a shot caught between her knees with 20:40 left in the first half.

Berkshire knew its defense would need to be solid against a team like Cuyahoga Heights.

I think (Wendl) really stepped up in the first half, and I think that she kind of set the tone in the second half,” Patterson said. “(Cuyahoga Heights) really struggled to get good looks on goal…they saw that they were struggling to beat her in the first half, so they were kind of running out of options. That was a huge shut-out for her tonight.”

With Wendl standing firm for Berkshire defensively, the Badgers only needed one goal to win the game. That goal came with 16:30 remaining in the second half, when Larch sifted through Cuyahoga Heights defenders and launched the ball into the back of the net, giving her team a 1-0 lead.

Larch believes that her team’s offense stepped up as a whole.

We just communicated really well,” Larch said. “Our passes were just getting finished, and I just had one shot and we won 1-0.”

Not only was the moment huge for Berkshire, but Larch’s goal was big for her personally, her coach explained.

It was her 100th career point for us,” Patterson said. “She’s a clutch player. Every time that we need a goal down the stretch, it seems that she’s always the one that comes up with it.”

With the victory, Berkshire improved to a 5-0-1 conference record, and now ranks first in the Metro Division.

It was a huge win,” Patterson said. “Cuyahoga Heights was undefeated in the conference, and we had that one tie against Brooklyn High School, so we were sitting two points behind them. We had to knock (Cuyahoga Heights) off tonight to have a chance.”