STREETSBORO — A good compromise leaves everyone mad.
Or so the adage goes.
Yet on a crisp mid-September evening, Field coach Kevin Sisak and Streetsboro coach Paul Krzeminski couldn't be too mad after their boys soccer teams played to a scoreless tie.
First of all, it was a fantastic back-and-forth game.
"It definitely was evenly matched throughout," Sisak said. "I think the pace changed for about 10, 15 minutes for us in our favor, and then Streetsboro had 10, 15 minutes of possession, and so it went back and forth."
Second, such games seem to be the way of the Metro Athletic Conference. Yes, the MAC is simply that close this year.
Already, Krzeminski has endured four ties, including another MAC draw against Norton, which has won the past few league championships.
While last Tuesday's game was Field's first league tie, it has already had two one-goal decisions in league play, a 1-0 triumph at Cloverleaf and a 3-2 loss at Springfield.
"We learned early on you got to give everybody their respect," said Sisak, reflecting on a blown late lead against the Spartans. "That's partially just an inexperience thing. Even the most experienced players and coaches will still learn something new about the game and I continue to learn every year."
Entering the week, every MAC boys soccer team has played at least four league games. Five (Cloverleaf, Coventry, Field, Norton and Streetsboro) have one league loss or fewer. All of which sets up not just for a dynamite end of the regular season, but a truly compelling MAC Tournament, when many of these battles can be fought once more.
And perhaps a few of these ties can be unbroken.
Metro Athletic Conference girls soccer features plenty of parity as well
The craziness, or #MACtion if you will, has extended to the girls side as well.
Indeed, MAC girls soccer has long been defined by excellent competition, including co-champions in 2020 (when Norton and Streetsboro shared the title) and 2021 (when Streetsboro split the championship with Field).
And then in 2022, the chaos continued as the Rockets had an undefeated regular season, only for the Falcons to upset them in the tournament semifinals, all of which helped lead to a Colts championship.
This year could be equally chaotic.
"Especially with the arrival of Cloverleaf last year, they're so good, and Field, we have a great game with them every year," Rockets coach Ryan Willard said. "You just know that you're going to get a battle."
Already, Cloverleaf and Streetsboro have played to a scoreless draw and are essentially tied atop the league.
Numerous other threats loom.
Indeed, while the Rockets topped the Falcons 1-0 at Quinn Field Tuesday, it could have been a different type of evening had Field not hit the post twice. Still, Streetsboro had to be happy with the result as its ball movement was impressive, including a series of short passes that led to the game's lone goal, by junior Lydia Schofield, which held up thanks to the Rockets' stellar defense.
"Our defense has been fantastic all year," Willard said. "We just have a lot of very reliable people back there. We don't score a lot of goals, so we have to be comfortable playing tight games in big games."
A little more about Field, Streetsboro boys soccer
In Ethan Laryea and Payton Krzeminski, Streetsboro has two of the more dynamic midfielders in the area.
"Ethan's two years behind Payton, but they've played together probably for about the last four or five years," Paul Krzeminski said. "They're both heady players. They both understand the game. They work well, too, with each other. Like they kind of have a flow among themselves, just like a sixth sense between them where they don't necessarily have to communicate."
For all Field's assets, a defense that has yielded just 10 goals in 11 games remains most impressive, with sophomore Wyatt Rahe shining bright in his team's scoreless draw at Streetsboro and keeper Caleb Brastine taking command through the air.
"He plays lights-out," Sisak said. "He wants it just as bad as anybody on this team, so he's the ultimate teammate and he'll do whatever to continue to get better."
A little more about Field, Streetsboro girls soccer
As Willard noted, the Falcons are dangerous because even if you happen to out-shoot them, as the Rockets did Tuesday, they have numerous players who can change the game in an instant.
Delilah Rahe is certainly one of them. Taryn Allen, a wizard of a ball-handler, is another. Adriana Bright has also really stepped up this year, scoring in five straight games at one point.
Meanwhile, Sydney Carmen has stepped up beautifully in the Streetsboro midfield alongside Madelyn Genovese.
"Sydney was fantastic," Willard said Tuesday. "It seems like the average high school formation plays with three center midfielders and we play with two, so for Mads and Syd to be able to do what they do, almost always outnumbered, is phenomenal. We couldn't set up the way that we do without them."
Leading boys soccer title contenders (and remaining regular season league games)
Norton (4-0-1, at Cloverleaf, vs. Field)
Cloverleaf (4-1-0, vs. Norton, at Coventry)
Field (3-1-1, vs. Coventry, at Norton)
Coventry (3-1-0, at Field, vs. Cloverleaf, vs. Streetsboro)
Streetsboro (1-1-2, at Woodridge, vs. Springfield, at Coventry)
Leading girls soccer title contenders (and remaining regular season league games)
Cloverleaf (4-0-1, at Norton, at Coventry)
Streetsboro (3-0-1, at Woodridge, vs. Springfield, at Coventry)
Norton (3-1-1, vs. Cloverleaf, vs. Field)
Field (3-2-0, vs. Coventry, at Norton)
Woodridge (2-2-1, vs. Streetsboro, at Ravenna)
This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Field, Streetsboro soccer chase Metro Athletic Conference titles