AVON LAKE — Amherst didn’t need many opportunities, but as the old saying goes — quality trumps quantity.
The Comets only recorded six shots against Avon Lake on Wednesday, but connected on their first three and held off the Shoregals in a 3-1 Southwestern Conference victory.
Amherst improved to 7-1-1 overall and 5-0-1 in the SWC, while Avon Lake fell to 6-4 and 6-2.
“I had a player right on my back. It was hard to turn her,” said Amherst’s Elley Vorhees, who scored the team’s first goal. “The combinations at the top have led me into balls. They play me the ball.”
The final score was not indicative of how well the Avon Lake defense played. It limited Amherst’s opportunities for the most part. The Shoregals only gave the Comets an inch, but they managed to take a mile as all of their goals came on miscues.
Vorhees pulled a nice move on her defender, bringing her away from the goal as the throw-in sailed over her head. Vorhees darted back to the net just as the ball bounced into the open space, creating a beautiful one-on-one opportunity she took full advantage of.
Amherst’s second goal came on an unfortunate bounce. A shot ricocheted off Avon Lake goalkeeper Emily Yarham and right into Olivia Lopez’s lap — who was all alone on the weak side with no defender.
“If we weren’t going to be 100 percent clean, Amherst was going to pounce on it,” Avon Lake coach Daegen Duvall said. “They’re the best team I’ve seen this year. They move the ball around exceptionally well.”
The third goal came on a miscue. Avon Lake’s defense kicked the ball back for Yarham to punt downfield, but the kick was off — sailing wide despite a lunging effort by Yarham to stop it.
Unfortunately for Avon Lake, Lexy Alston had come to contest the pass. Once it went off target, she found herself all alone with the ball, tapping it into the net for an easy score.
“I had to make sure she didn’t turn and basically had to stay on her back,” said Avon Lake defender Tayleigh Price, who was matched up with Alston and did a nice job of containing her throughout the match. “We had to avoid letting her through. It was all a mental thing.”
Avon Lake strung together more shots — seven — but only four were on target. In fact, the first three shots by the Shoregals came from outside of the box and they only managed to force one corner kick for the game.
Adele Osberg put Avon Lake on the board with a penalty kick after Amherst was called for a handball inside the box at the 55:53 mark. The foul was one of nine in the second half for the Comets, including a yellow card.
“We have to be a little bit stronger here in the back,” Amherst coach Gary Gonzalez said. “We get in trouble when we let the ball bounce around the 18, and bad things happen when it gets in there.”
Amherst 3, Avon Lake 1
GOALS: (A) Elley Vorhees (12:08), Olivia Lopez (22:50), Lexy Alston (33:13); (AL) Adele Osberg (55:53).
ASSISTS: (A) None; (AL) None.
SHOTS: Amherst 6, Avon Lake 7.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Amherst 5, Avon Lake 4.
SAVES: (A) Ainsley Steele 3; (AL) Emily Yarham 2.
FOULS: Amherst 12, Avon Lake 2.
YELLOW CARDS: Amherst 1, Avon Lake 1.
RED CARDS: Amherst 0, Avon Lake 0.
PENALTY KICKS: Amherst 0, Avon Lake 1.
CORNER KICKS: Amherst 2, Avon Lake 1.
FREE KICKS: Amherst 2, Avon Lake 11.
GOAL KICKS: Amherst 6, Avon Lake 3.
HALFTIME: Amherst, 3-0.