ELYRIA — Monday’s non-conference match between Elyria and Avon Lake was one for the history books, as it was the first girls soccer game played at the new Ely Stadium.
Shoregals junior forward Adele Osberg also made it a night for the record book as she scored her first career hat trick, just 22 minutes into the match as Avon Lake rolled to a 5-0 victory.
Many fans were still admiring the new facility when Osberg scored in the second minute. Three minutes later, she scored again, and she made it 3-0 midway through the first half. Avon Lake (2-2) maintained control throughout the match.
“It was a good half. We made a lot of connections and I had a lot of balls played my way,” said Osberg, who was unaware until after the game that she was the first girl to score a goal in the new facility.
While not much went right on the field for the Pioneers, who were outshot 32-1, their new surroundings were a cause for hope and excitement.
“We’re the first girls soccer team in Elyria to play in a new stadium so this night really meant a lot to us,” senior goalkeeper Hannah McCray said. “This facility shows Elyria sports could be bigger than what people make them out to be. Besides football, basketball and softball everyone thinks of all the others sports at our school as low end. We have so many athletic kids at our school who just don’t try out for sports. I hope having a facility like this can get them to change their mind.”
McCray became well acquainted with the Ely Stadium turf as she spent much of the night diving to make stop after stop as Avon Lake dominated the possession in its offensive third of the field.
“Hannah does a great job of taking charge back there. She gets shot on more than most other goalies do and she’s doing a great job,” Elyria coach Brian Thomas said. “It’s great to have Hannah back there, like I told the girls after the game, it could have been eight or nine to nothing very easily.”
Thomas thinks that playing in a new facility could be a harbinger of better days to come for the Pioneers, who have six freshmen on their roster this year but lack the depth to field a junior varsity team.
“We were all excited. What a beautiful facility and we’re really proud of it,” Thomas said. “Hopefully when families and students see we have a multi-million dollar sports facility it’ll get more kids to come out for sports. When parents see we are investing in the kids and in the community we hope it pushes them to get their kids to come and get involved in the programs at Elyria.”
Avon Lake coach Daegen Duvall was pleased his team could be a part of Elyria’s opening night but he was even more excited to see the Shoregals find the back of the net five times after getting shut out twice in their first three matches.
“It felt good tonight because goals have been hard to come by,” Duvall said. “This is the first game we’ve put in more than two. We had good movement tonight and we were precise with our placement and our decision. We play Westlake on Wednesday so we’re going to have to keep being precise.”
Senior Erin Litzler scored two goals in a span of seven minutes midway through the second half to close out the scoring for Avon Lake.
“It’s so amazing to have something new in Elyria,” Pioneers junior midfielder Jessie Thomas said. “I’ve played for two different club teams and everyone looks at Elyria like we don’t have anything nice, but we have the new high school and now we this new facility and I think it’s going to encourage a lot of girls to want to play sports.”
Avon Lake 5, Elyria 0
GOALS: Adele Osberg (2nd minute, 5th minute, 22nd minute), Erin Litzler (52nd minute, 59th minute).
ASSISTS: Adrian Salco, Marcy Allen
SAVES: (AL) Emily Yarham 1. (E) Hannah McCray 27.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Avon Lake 32, Elyria 1.
CORNER KICKS: Avon Lake 10.
FOULS: Avon Lake 4, Elyria 2.
OFFSIDES: Avon Lake 5, Elyria 1.