Ari Lewis helps Jericho stay focused on state title
The Jericho boys soccer team has had its eyes set on another state title, and that tunnel vision has done wonders for the Jayhawks so far. They had not allowed a goal in conference play going into Wednesday's game at Garden City.
Jericho kept the scoreless streak going, earning 2-0 win to stay unbeaten in Conference A-IV.
"Our defense has been fantastic," said senior goalie Ari Lewis, who had seven saves in the shutout. "We work as a cohesive unit, so as long as we work together we're not going to let any goals in."
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The chemistry on defense has been key for Jericho (9-0-1, 8-0-0); all five starters returned from last year's group that allowed just one goal in seven postseason games. The Jayhawks played suffocating defense against the Trojans (3-4-4, 3-3-2), stifling any shot opportunities and disrupting any breakaway attempts.
"We pride ourselves on defense and keeping ourselves sharp," coach Dani Braga said. "Once again we didn't allow anything; all the guys really help each other back there."
Sweeper Jack Roberts played great in helping preserve the shutout. Ajani Motta, David Orr and Brian Lowenstein each did a great job clearing the ball out of the box and gaining back possession for the Jayhawks.
"Our defense has been incredible," said senior forward Derek Medolla, who scored a goal. "I know we can always rely on them no matter what. They were tested today, and they showed what they could do."
Medolla's goal came 6:28 in when Zach Cohen threw a line-drive all the way to the opposite side of the goal that bounced off Medolla's chest and into the back of the net. It is Medolla's eighth goal of the season, which leads the conference.
Freshman Barry Sharifi scored his fourth goal of the year with 26:15 left in the game off a direct kick from Michael Blumberg.
For the Jayhawks, it's nice to keep the scoreless streak going, but their motivation comes from a greater goal.
"Obviously we want to keep that going," Lewis said. "But our real goal is to win another state championship. That's the only thing we're focused on."