ELYRIA — It’s said lighting never strikes in the same place twice.
While that may be true for the bolts flashing around Knights of Columbus Field on Friday night, it wasn’t for Elyria Catholic’s Alex Steindl.
The senior gave EC a jolt three times, scoring all of the Panthers’ goals in a 3-1 win over Brookside on the opening day of the season.
The game was called with 23:06 left because of the actual lightning.
“We were playing the ball really well and got some good chances,” Steindl said. “We were playing the ball through the middle really well to get opportunities for myself and our wings. We were making sure everyone stayed forward on the field.”
EC dominated basically every category in the first half — outshooting Brookside 15-3 and 10-3 on goal with four corner kicks to none for the Cardinals.
The Panthers managed to finally find the back of the net 3:04 into the game when Steindl took a feed from Asa Kempton into the box and sent a shot across from the left side.
But despite the many opportunities, that was the only goal of the first half.
Brookside took its first shot about 20 minutes into the game thanks to a yellow card that set up Joel Pospisil with a free kick just outside the box, but it was saved by Bryce Hileman.
“We wanted to keep the ball moving through our midfield,” EC coach Jason Kempton said. “I have an amazing midfield staff, they really came at them. They kept the pressure on them and got the ball to the top.”
Steindl saved his best work for the opening minutes of the second half, scoring twice within a matter of minutes. The first goal was a thing of beauty, taking a feed from Jake Records, shaking a defender and weaving through the box until he was one-on-one with goalkeeper Connor Baughman, then making it 2-0 with a flick of his foot.
Less than three minutes later, Steindl struck again. He lined up a ball that deflected off a Brookside defender right in the middle of the box. The shot ricocheted off Baughman’s chest and into the goal.
“It was tough,” Baughman said. “They brought a constant onslaught for the first few minutes. We finally started to hold them off, clear the ball, but for those first 20 minutes of the first half they just kept coming. We have to know now that if we do go down, which we will, we can fight back. As we saw towards the end, we were coming back. The momentum was swinging towards us.”
Brookside did start to gain more opportunities in the second half and finally broke through six minutes before the game was cut short. EC’s Luke Hallagan was whistled for a foul in the box and Pospisil connected on the free kick.
“We just started slow,” Brookside coach Tony Rozanc said. “Once we got smacked around a bit we started playing. I think that motivated them to play a little harder. One good thing about all of this is we saw how good we can play when we have some motivation.
“But definitely we got outplayed. EC did a great job. My team knows that they need to be more aggressive, they can’t sit back. We’re just going to have to throw this one out and move on to the next one. We’ll be all right. We have a good team and we’re a lot better than we played today.”
Elyria Catholic 3, Brookside 1
GOALS: (B) Joel Pospisil (50:51); (EC) Alex Steindl (13:14, 40:41, 43:04).
ASSISTS: (EC) Asa Kempton, Jake Records
SHOTS: Brookside 4, Elyria Catholic 20
SHOTS ON GOAL: Brookside 4, Elyria Catholic 14
SAVES: (B) Connor Baughman 5; (EC) Bryce Hileman 4
FOULS: Brookside 10, Elyria Catholic 11
YELLOW CARDS: Brookside 1, Elyria Catholic 1
CORNER KICKS: Brookside 0, Elyria Catholic 4
FREE KICKS: Brookside 10, Elyria Catholic 10
GOAL KICKS: Brookside 11, Elyria Catholic 0
HALFTIME: Elyria Catholic, 1-0