Beaumont vs. Akron Hoban
What: Division II Northeast 3 District final
When: 6 p.m., Oct. 26
Records: Beaumont 11-6-2, Akron Hoban 13-4-1
What's next: The winner advances to a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Oct. 31 against Bay or Copley at Niles McKinley.
What to look for: Beaumont clearly learned something about itself as a side following back-to-back losses to Walsh Jesuit (3-1) and Shaker Heights (5-1), particularly the Walsh match hanging around past halftime against the mighty Warriors. The Blue Streaks, with an underclassman-laden side, have won eight of 10 since — and one of the two losses might have said as much, as they hung within 2-1 vs. Gilmour on Oct. 10. It's striking that The News-Herald coverage area representation in Division II comes down to two young sides, Beaumont along with Kenston, which seemed as if their best days were still to come — just maybe not in 2023. They had other ideas. The Blue Streaks have a solid young attack with striker Taryn Kozak (16 goals, three assists in 2023) and fellow sophomores in midfield Alaina Longmeier (6-11) and Cassidy McDonald (5-9). At their best, this is a side with a ton of intent and off-ball understanding. The problem is, the foe on the opposite touchline for this breakthrough district final is the real deal. Hoban went and took down the Lancers, which spent much of the fall as the No. 1 side in The News-Herald girls soccer Top of the Crop, 1-0 in a district semi. The Knights boast a head-to-head win over Mansfield Madison and had competitive losses to Massillon Jackson and Avon Lake. This will be an uphill climb at minimum for Beaumont, but a district final appearance with such a sophomore-laden side should set the table nicely for the future regardless.