WESTLAKE — Westlake’s Jake Bechtel and Paul Columbro had a total of 92 goals coming into Friday’s Division II playoff game against Avon Lake.
The Shoremen managed to hold the seniors to one goal each but that only gave Demons midfielder Adam Sandor and attack Chris Humer a chance to take center stage.
Humer scored five goals and Sandor added three to go along with his dominating work on faceoffs as Westlake pulled away in the second half for a 12-4 win.
The Demons (13-4) will host Kent Roosevelt, 10-4 winners over Benedictine on Friday, in a second-round game Wednesday.
Sandor scored two of his goals in the third quarter as Westlake turned a 3-2 halftime lead into a 7-2 advantage. He also won all five faceoffs in the period.
“I wait for the other guy to do what he does then I try to mess him up, and usually it works,” said Sandor, who became the Demons face-off specialist midway through the season. “The two wing guys were coming in hot. I was able to pick up the ground balls. Everything was clicking tonight.”
Westlake won 17 of 20 faceoffs in the game including 12 of 13 in the second half.
As they did to opponents all season, the Shoremen frustrated the Demons with their defensive tenacity, blanketing Bechtel and Columbro all night.
Columbro’s lone goal came with 10:42 to play in the third quarter when he scooped up an errant clearing pass and had nothing but fresh air between himself and Avon Lake goalkeeper Turner Keane. Bechtel scored his goal in the final minute of the game to close out the scoring for Westlake.
“In the third quarter, Coach told the captains you guys have to take over the game,” Sandor said. “This can’t be our last game.”
Sandor impressed Westlake coach Brian Stepanek with his faceoff prowess.
“Sandor won us the game,” Stepanek said. “Faceoffs are the most important part of the game. Faceoffs lead to possessions and possessions win games. … It doesn’t matter how skilled you are at the ends if you don’t win faceoffs. That’s why Sandor is so important for us.”
Humer scored the Demons’ first two goals 67 seconds apart in the second quarter, and added three more in the fourth.
“I just went to net and found the open slot and waited for the pass from whatever middie was up top,” Humer said. “Avon Lake was beginning to frustrate us by holding the ball, but then we felt that desperation come out because we knew our season was in jeopardy.”
Michael Morrison, a junior, led the Shoremen with two goals while Keane made 14 saves. Earlier in the week, the Shoremen defeated West Geauga 13-4 in an opening-round play-in game to earn the right to face the Demons.
Avon Lake ended its first season as a varsity program with a 9-8 record.
“Our game plan worked really well,” Avon Lake coach Kevin Walz said. “We wanted to take the air out of the ball. We knew we couldn’t get into a track meet with them. We played a mistake-free first half but we had a couple of bad turnovers early in the third and the ball started rolling downhill.”
Walz didn’t allow Friday’s final score to cloud the Shoremen’s accomplishments this season.
“It’s been a heck of a season for Avon Lake lacrosse,” he said. “I could not be more proud of the team, especially our eight seniors. The school and the community have been extremely supportive of us, it’s just been a great year.”
Senior Paul Freedman made seven saves in goal for Westlake.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Westlake 12, Avon Lake 4
Avon Lake 0 2 0 2 — 4
Westlake 0 3 4 5 — 12
Goals: (AL) Morrison 2, MacGeorge, Weed. (W) Humer 5, Sandor 3, Greenberg, Bechtel, Columbro, Fife.
Assists: (AL) Glasser 2, Anthony. (W) Columbro 2, Fife, Greenberg, Guay, Schneider, Sandor.
Goalkeepers: (AL) Keane 14 saves. (W) Freedman 7 saves.
Man-up situations: Avon Lake 2-5. Westlake 0-2.