Olmsted junior forward Joshua Sandoval fights for control of
the ball against Westlake senior defender Tim Andrews during
last Saturday afternoon’s Division I district championship match
at Rocky River. (West Life photo by Larry Bennet)
teams in soccer regionals
By Jim Horvath
Published Nov. 4, 2009
2009 high school soccer season got a bit sweeter for three Westshore
area soccer teams last week.
The Westlake girls, along with the Bay and North Olmsted
boys squads, came away with district championships last week. Those
three teams advanced to the state’s sweet 16, just two wins away
from advancing to their respective state tournaments.
It all began last Thursday night in Westlake where
the Demons blanked Magnificat, 2-0, in the girls Division I district
championship matchup. With the win, Westlake moved to 15-1-3, defended
its district crown and advanced to tonight’s regional semifinal
Tonight’s match will be played at Bay’s Memorial Stadium
at 7 p.m. Tickets are $6 and will be available at the gate only.
sophomore forward Natalie Guido fights Bay sophomore defender
Erika Hansen for possession during last week’s Division I district
semifinal match. The Blue Streaks went on to eliminate the Rockets,
1-0. (West Life photo by Larry Bennet)
Last Saturday afternoon, North Olmsted got things
going on the boys side of things with a 2-0 win over Southwestern
Conference rival Westlake at Rocky River’s stadium. The win gave
the Eagles a record of 16-1-2, their first Division I district championship
since 2000 and a regional semifinal matchup with Strongsville last
night at Bay.
Later in the afternoon in Division II, Bay had to
rally in the match’s final nine minutes to come away with a 2-1
district championship win over West Shore Conference rival Rocky
River. The state-ranked Rockets, moving to 16-1-2 on the season,
advanced to last night’s regional semifinal at Rocky River against
Revere. Revere, also state-ranked, last to the Rockets 2-1 during
the regular season.
At Rocky River, North Olmsted survived a number of
threats from Westlake in the first half to keep the match scoreless.
The Demons’ Paul Appel just missed giving his team
an early lead when his header skipped wide right of the goal in
the match’s fourth minute. Appel again was denied with just over
17 minutes left in the half when he got the ball past Eagle goalie
Nolan Escher and scored uncontested.
Appel, however, was called for a handball, and the
goal was denied.
The match remained scoreless until North Olmsted received
a free kick with 45 seconds left in the half. Kurt Russell scored
the match’s first goal, drilling the ball just inside the right
post and past Westlake’s backup goalie Joe Murthy.
The Demons, who had handed the Eagles their only loss
of the season during the regular season, were without injured goalies
Stefan Sathasivam and Alex Ferrel.
In the second half, North Olmsted added a second goal
in the sixth minute when junior Nicholas Stone-Weiss scored on a
header off a throw in from senior defender Bryan Miller. The rest
of the way, the Eagle defense held firm to seal the deal.
“We were fortunate to get out of the first half with
the lead,” said North Olmsted coach Chris Marsh, whose team avenged
a 3-1 loss to Westlake in an SWC match.
“We were fortunate that their player was called for
a handball – very fortunate,” Marsh said. “All season long, nobody
has come that close on us after a restart. It was a good thing they
missed on that header earlier, too.
“The wind was such a factor, I thought at one point
we might be able to give up a goal and still be in it. Westlake
gave us everything we could handle in the first half, and we didn’t
break. Having the wind in the second half, it was a matter of us
maintaining possession and protecting the lead,” Marsh said.
Both teams had nine shots on goal, but North Olmsted’s
defense proved stout as Escher recorded just one save for the match.
“We should have had a goal in the first half because
there was no handball,” said Westlake head coach Mike Besu, whose
team ended its season with a record of 10-5-4 and an SWC co-championship
with the Eagles.
“The ball hit our player in the chest,” Besu said.
“No way was it a handball. I’m not one to bash the officials, but
that one never should have been called back. Still, we had our chances
in the first half. We just didn’t finish.”
North Olmsted had advanced to the district title match
after a solid 3-1 win over top-seeded Lakewood last Wednesday. Adam
Kohler scored a pair of goals, the first of which came in the first
half to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead at halftime.
Westlake had moved on after a convincing 3-0 win over
SWC rival Berea. The Demon goals came from Alex Chernosky, Evan
Weisenberger and Appel as Westlake registered 11 shots on goal to
just one for the Braves.
Here’s a look at the other two district championship
matches last week:
Westlake girls defend title
The Demons avenged their only loss of the season,
a 1-0 decision at Magnificat, in winning another district championship.
Senior Natalie Bechtel scored the only goal Westlake
needed in the fourth minute. Bechtel, the team’s leading scorer,
beat Blue Streak goalie Amanda Copfer with an unassisted goal kick
from over 20 yards out.
In the 34th minute of the first half, the Demons scored
again as Bechtel found Kristie Prendergast with a crossing pass
in front of the Magnificat goal. For the match, Westlake outshot
the visitors, 17-7, with goalie Stephanie Poeppelman recording seven
Copfer had nine saves for the Blue Streaks, who bowed
out of the tournament with a strong record of 12-4-4. Magnificat
had advanced to the district finale with a 1-0 win over Bay earlier
in the week.
Westlake had advanced with a hard-fought 2-0 win over
Avon. Bechtel scored an unassisted goal right before the half for
a 1-0 Demon lead. The home team put it away in the second half on
a goal by Lauren Wickman off an assist from Prendergast.
Rockets roar back in second half
Rocky River almost pulled off the upset at Memorial
Stadium, holding a 1-0 lead well into the second half of this district
The Pirates, which closed out the season at 7-11-1,
got the lead as senior Andrew Triplett beat Bay goalie Nate McDonald
late in the first half. The River lead held up until the nine minute
mark of the second half.
Junior Eric Linhart, who had numerous scoring opportunities
throughout the match, finally found the back of the net to tie the
score 1-1. Two minutes later, senior Sam Dickinson scored the winning
goal to allow the Rockets to avert the upset.
River made the district title match by defeating Avon,
2-0, earlier last week. The Pirates, playing on the road, took a
1-0 lead in the first half on a goal from Kegan Still in the 33rd
minute. Triplett scored the insurance goal in the second half, and
goalie Ian Taylor recorded 13 saves to help send the Pirates into
the district championship match.
Bay, now 15-1-3, blanked WSC foe Fairview, 6-0, earlier
in the week for its third-straight shutout in the tournament. Linhart
and Alec Petro each scored a pair of goals for the Rockets, while
Dickinson dished out three assists.