sophomore Jackson Heller tries to win the ball during the first
half in last Saturday’s district championship game with Revere
at Memorial Stadium. The Rockets won their 20th district title
in a 2-1 win. (West Life photo by Larry Bennet)
Rockets advance in postseason soccer
By Jim Horvath
Published Oct. 29, 2008
regular season and early tournament goals have been reached.
Now, it gets serious.
Both the Bay boys and Westlake girls soccer teams
advanced to the regional level last week. Last Thursday, Westlake’s
best-ever season continued with a hard-fought 1-0 win over neighborhood
rival Magnificat in a Division I district championship game. Bay
followed up last Saturday night with a solid 2-1 win over Revere
for its fourth-straight district crown.
Action in the Sweet 16 began last night at Rocky River
as the Rockets took on Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, a 2-1 overtime
winner over Medina Highland in its Division II district final.
The Demons have a strong challenge ahead of them tonight
at Bay’s Memorial Stadium when they take on Strongsville. The Mustangs
are ranked No. 1 in the state in Division I and have been ranked
nationally in the Top 10.
Westlake head coach Scott Jones was well aware of
the Mustangs’ lofty ranking, but felt his team was as prepared as
it could be.
“They lost to Cincinnati St. Ursula in the state championship
game last year,” said Jones, whose team has a best-ever mark of
16-2-1against a tough Southwestern Conference field and several
tough non-conference opponents.
“Our players and the rest of the school are very excited,”
said Jones. “We’ve been supported very well in the school and the
entire community. All year long, we’ve played a demanding schedule
to help us prepare for this.
“Our two losses are to two state-ranked teams in Holy
Name and Walsh Jesuit, and we had an opportunity to win both of
them,” he said. “We were tied with Walsh (0-0) at halftime before
losing it in the second half, and Walsh beat Strongsville this season.”
of the Westlake girls soccer team lift the district championship
trophy after defeating Magnificat, 1-0, last week. (West Life
photo by Larry Bennet)
Westlake advanced after a battle with the Blue Streaks
that featured a lot of physical play. Freshman midfielder Sarah
Stroh scored the lone goal of the game midway through the second
half. Magnificat goalie Amanda Copfer stopped an initial shot, then
got back up to save another when Stroh moved in and made the third
In all, Westlake outshot the Blue Streaks, 8-4, with
goalie Stephanie Poeppelman registering the shutout.
For Bay, things went a bit easier against Revere,
a program that has now suffered four straight district tournament
defeats at the hands of the Rockets.
Aaron Adkins gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead in the 30th
minute off an assist from Eric Linhart. In the second half, Shane
Williams made it 2-0 off a nice crossing pass from Adkins.
Goalie Nate McDonald registered one save as his teammates
had seven shots on goal to Revere’s two. A one-on-one matchup with
Revere defender Andy Lamb went Lamb’s way in the 70th minute to
erase Bay’s 10th shutout of the season.
The Rockets, now 16-2-1, claimed their 20th district
championship in the past 21 years, their third straight against
Revere. Now they move on to the regional tournament, where they
have come out on top nine times. The program’s most recent regional
crowns came in 2005 and 2006. Bay was state runner-up in 2005.
The Rockets yesterday took on St. Vincent-St. Mary,
a team that as the fourth seed defeated the first and second seeds
in its district to go 11-5-3 heading into its game with the Rockets.
“They’ve got one guy who has scored about half of
their goals this season,” said Bay head coach Bobby Dougherty. “They’ve
got a nice outside midfielder as well. It seems their biggest weakness
is in the back. The scouting report I got is that they’re a bit
disorganized back there.
“Still, they’ve beaten the teams they’ve needed to
beat, so we can’t take them lightly,” he added.
Both Bay and Westlake programs felt they had prepared
the best they could for the moment.
“This will be a challenge for us, but our schedule
has served us well,” said Jones. “That was our goal going in, to
play the best teams we could and see just how good we were. You
can’t do that unless you play the best teams around, including a
very tough SWC schedule.
“We’ve constructed a game plan and we’ll have a couple
of good days of practice. We couldn’t ask for too much more. We’ll
be prepared and ready to go,” he said.