ELYRIA — Third-ranked Elyria Catholic got a test from Oberlin on Tuesday night before pulling away for a 3-0 win in a Division III boys soccer district semifinal at Knights of Columbus Field.
The Panthers (14-3-1) advance to Saturday’s district title match against Lutheran West, a 1-0 winner over Indepedence. The final is set for 3 p.m. at EC.
Oberlin (7-9-1) hung with the Panthers most of the way. It held them to a 1-0 lead for 32 minutes of the first half, and EC didn’t put it away until senior Michael Saddler made it 3-0 with an unassisted goal in the 61st minute.
The Panthers’ first goal came in the fourth minute off the foot of junior Liam O’Halloran. The second was kicked in by junior Gage Jarvis off Saddler’s corner kick in the 36th minute.
While the win was not easy against a Phoenix team without seniors, it provided the Panthers with a learning moment.
“This game showed us we have to play hard every game,” Saddler said. “We can’t take any (opponent for granted). We just have to keep moving forward and keep our heads up.”
Oberlin got a remarkable performance from freshman goalkeeper Tam Cadenhead, who was called on to make11 saves, an unusually large number.
Many were routine. His presence and the fact the Phoenix roster consists of four other freshmen, five sophomores and nine juniors, is a source of optimism for coach Michael Schmid.
“Our keeper has really come on since the beginning of the season,” said Schmid, who played at Oberlin. “He is one of our most improved players. Playing against the No. 3 team in the state, and they’re blasting shots against you — I mean he stood strong. Even without seniors, this team grew. I’m very optimistic.”
Panthers coach Attila Csiszar praised Oberlin’s effort.
“They played terrific,” he said. “Especially the first 20 or 25 minutes. They were possessing the ball and moving it around. Sometimes we tend to rely on one or two players up top and our midfielders have to be more engaged. But I’m very happy tonight.”
Girls district game moved
The Elyria Catholic Division III girls district soccer final against Wellington on Thursday night has been moved to Avon because of unplayable conditions at Knights of Columbus Field.
Start time remains 7 p.m.
EC also announced the boys district final against Lutheran West set for Saturday at 3 p.m. might also be moved.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria Catholic 3, Oberlin 0
GOALS: (EC) Liam O’Halloran (4th minute), Jeff Ruiz (36th), Michael Saddler (61st).
ASSISTS: (EC) Saddler
SAVES: (O) Tam Cadenhead 11; (EC) Marty Conroy 2; James Rickard 0
SHOTS: Oberlin 3, Elyria Catholic 17
SHOTS ON GOAL: Oberlin 1, Elyria Catholic 11
CORNER KICKS: Oberlin 1, Elyria Catholic 2
GOAL KICKS: Oberlin 11, Elyria Catholic 6
OFFSIDE: Elyria Catholic 5
HANDBALLS: Oberlin 1
FOULS: Oberlin 5, Elyria Catholic 10
YELLOW CARDS: (O) Dante LaRiccia (62nd minute); (EC) Matt Ruiz, O’Halloran (72nd).
HALFTIME: Elyria Catholic, 2-0.