ELYRIA - School may not be in session just yet for everyone across Lorain County, but a veteran Elyria Catholic squad held its own version of Soccer 101 for visiting Wellington on Saturday afternoon at Knights of Columbus Field.
Scoring goals in a variety of ways and playing keepaway with the ball from the Dukes for most of the match, the Panthers opened what they hope to be a memorable 2011 season with an 8-2 win.
"We did what we wanted to do coming out," EC head coach Mike Wisnor said. "We had some specific things we wanted to work on, and were able to do that today.
"We need to continue to build on things as the season goes on, but for early in the year, we're happy with what we did."
Happy may be an understatement. The Panthers fired off 31 shots on goal to just three for the Dukes. Wellington sophomore goalie Jake Miller collected 10 saves, but couldn't be blamed if he felt a little worn out by the end of the day.
"It's always our goal to score inside the first 10 minutes, and with this being our first game and having this past week with other teams playing, the boys were very anxious to get out there and play," Wisnor said. "I was happy with how we played, and scoring three times in the first 10 minutes probably even exceeded our expectations."
Elyria Catholic seniors Ryan Lutke and Vincent Faraji each scored a pair of goals, with fellow senior David Elwer setting up most of the action. Elwer assisted on two goals off throw-ins, and found the back of the net on a second-half goal of his own.
Andy Ruiz, a senior forward, scored after following up a missed shot that Wellington's Miller deflected off the foot of Matt Michalski. Goals by Taylor Millar and Stephen Saddler rounded out the day for the Panthers.
"I was in the right place at the right time," Ruiz said of his rebound goal. "I went in watching if the keeper would come up with the ball or not. I wasn't really expecting it, but then I thought, 'Oh, yes, thank God,' when he missed it. I was able to put it right back in."
Wellington coach William Bogan knew going in that his team, which has just three seniors to EC's 14, would be overmatched.
"I have a young team," he said with a smile. "I rotated three freshmen through the same spot, and that's the spot they (Elyria Catholic) attacked all day long. We've had the better of them the last couple of years, and it's their turn. We knew."
Wellington did not record a shot on goal until late in the second half, but inside the final 15 minutes, Dukes senior Nick Dowdell scored both goals, one on a penalty kick and the other on a great shot from the left side of the box which ripped past EC goalie Danny Smith.
Contact John McDermott at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria Catholic 8, Wellington 2
• SHOTS ON GOAL: Elyria Catholic 31, Wellington 3.
• GOALS: (EC) Ryan Lutke (2), Vincent Faraji (2), Andy Ruiz, Stephen Saddler, Taylor Millar, David Elwer. (W) Nick Dowdell (2).
• ASSISTS: (EC) Elwer (3), Faraji.
• SAVES: (EC) Danny Smith 1. (W) Jake Miller 10.
• HALFTIME: EC, 4-0.