ELYRIA — Returning three players to its lineup who were sidelined with injuries, Elyria Catholic was able to move freshman Emily Vogel back to her spot at center forward Saturday morning.
It was just what the Panthers needed against Open Door.
Vogel scored a pair of goals and Elyria Catholic held off the Patriots’ late push in a 3-2 win.
“Emily Vogel is a footballer,” Elyria Catholic coach James Duffy said. “Not only her work rate, her instinct — for being only a freshman — and high soccer IQ. … She’s willing to fight, fight, fight and can finish. And she had plenty of opportunities to finish.”
Ahead 2-1 at halftime, the Panthers (3-1) continued to pepper the Open Door goal repeatedly, but struggled to find the back of the net to extend the margin.
Elyria Catholic had a 12-4 advantage in shots on goal.
Midway through the second half, Vogel dribbled past the Open Door defense and, after her initial attempt was blocked, put back her own shot in the right side of the goal from close range for a 3-1 lead.
“She needs to (hit the ball) a little cleaner when she’s near the goal, but she makes an impact in that part of the field,” Duffy said. “She’s only going to get better.”
The Patriots, who had just one substitute on the bench, struck back late to make a game of it. Emily McClain slipped behind the Panthers defense on a breakaway but her shot hit the goalpost and fell to the feet of Maggie Eck, who settled the ball and scored into the open net with 6:35 remaining to cut the lead to 3-2.
“They fought, with only one reserve, and kept fighting,” Duffy said. “We backed off a little bit and they were able to keep coming forward with the ball.”
Minutes later, McClain got behind the defense again for a breakaway, but couldn’t convert, her shot missing wide.
In the match’s opening moments, Vogel finished the Panthers’ first attack, taking a short pass from Meghan Janscura in front of goal and scoring after just 48 seconds.
McClain provided a quick equalizer for the Patriots, sending a shot past Panthers goalkeeper Cameron Resor.
Elyria Catholic restored the lead 10 minutes before halftime when Emilie Uhnak collected the ball about 30 yards away from goal and dribbled within shooting range before firing off a shot that slipped beneath Open Door junior goalkeeper Alissa Faber.
Faber finished the game with nine saves and Resor made two for Elyria Catholic.
“The difference in the game was mistakes — the two goalie misses were big, the four missed breakaways we didn’t convert were big,” Patriots coach Shawn Faber said. “But overall, early in the season, we’re looking for attitude and effort for the girls, and they really came through.”
Elyria Catholic 3, Open Door 2
GOALS: (EC) Emily Vogel (79:18, 23:20) Emilie Uhnak (50:54); (OD) Emily McClain (76:09), Maggie Eck (6:35)
ASSISTS: (EC) Meghan Jancsura
SHOTS: Elyria Catholic 20, Open Door 14
SHOTS ON GOAL: Elyria Catholic 12, Open Door 4
SAVES: (EC) Cameron Resor 2; (OD) Alissa Faber 9
CORNER KICKS: Elyria Catholic 4, Open Door 2
OFFSIDES: Elyria Catholic 3, Open Door 1
FOULS: Elyria Catholic 5, Open Door 3
HALFTIME: Elyria Catholic 2, Open Door 1