TALLMADGE—Grant Keilin’s overtime goal secured Beachwood’s 2-1 win extra-time win over Chagrin Valley Conference rival Independence in a Division III regional semifinal on Wednesday at Tallmadge High School.
The Bison, who improved 19-2, controlled possession for most of the game but had to rally from behind after Independence’s Khalil McDonald broke a scoreless tie with a fourth-minute goal.
“It was a close game,” said Beachwood coach Brian Greene. “I knew it was going to be a hard-fought game because we already played them once and it’s always hard to beat the same team twice. You know they defended well, and we had to fight to get back into the game. Our boys persevered and you know I’m just glad we won.”
Beachwood defeated Independence 2-0 during the regular season on the way to winning the CVC Metro Division title.
The Blue Devils gained confidence in that narrow loss to the Bison and arrived at Tallmadge looking to avenge that setback.
Independence held its 1-0 lead for 36 minutes in the first half and half of the second.
“I’m most proud,” said Independence coach Brien McDonald. “We started 10 seniors and they really carried. What is amazing is the gap we closed here. We played Beachwood last year and we were blown out. Then earlier this year, it was a tied 0-0 game with 15 minutes left and today to have scored in four or five minutes just shows how hard this team has worked, how much we have improved, and what a great team effort by the seniors and others on the team. We left it on the field. No subs.”
Independence’s defense rose to the challenge of defending its 1-0 advantage.
The Blue Devils tamed a dangerous Bison squad but eventually Beachwood senior Ozan Sasmaz found an opening and punched in the equalizer with 17 minutes remaining in regulation.
“We played an extraordinary game tonight,” Coach McDonald said. “To come here and play at one point the No. 1 seed and team in the state, to be leading the game until that final 17th minute is extraordinary. Obviously, disappointed we conceded and lost in overtime.”
Neither team managed to punch one in during the final minutes of regulation, but Beachwood standout Grant Keilin extended his senior season by coming out of a scrum in front of the net and delivering the fatal strike that ended the contest and Independence’s season.
The goal was Keilin’s 36th of the season and the second time in as many seasons that he delivered a game-winning goal in overtime.
“To be honest, I did the same thing last year in the same round, so it’s pretty surreal having everybody jumping on top of you,” Keilin said. “I’m just glad we could make it to the next round.”
The Bison advanced to play Andrews-Osborne Academy (15-0-1) in the Division III regional championship game at Boardman High School at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Two other Chagrin Valley Conference teams saw their postseason runs come to an end in the regional semifinal round on Wednesday.
Harvey dropped a 2-1 decision to Bay in its first regional appearance and Kirtland fell to Andrews, 3-1.