ELYRIA — For over 100 minutes Elyria withstood every attack, counterattack and breakaway North Olmsted could send its way.
The one thing the Pioneers didn’t have an answer for was the left foot of Eagles freshman Ryan Sanborn.
Sanborn’s goal in the 22nd minute of overtime propelled North Olmsted to a 2-1 victory in a Division I sectional thriller at Ely Stadium.
For ninth-seeded North Olmsted the win means it advances to play state-ranked Strongsville. The loss ended the Pioneers’ season with a 7-9-1 record.
“These guys battled the entire match. We had a couple of chances in overtime and just couldn’t connect,” Elyria coach Brett Heighberger said. “One counterattack changed everything. We needed to put a little more pressure on the ball but their kid made a great move and had an excellent finish. You can’t take anything away from North Olmsted. Both teams played well tonight.”
The Pioneers got on the board in the 30th minute when senior midfielder Joshua Rader scored his fourth goal of the season. Junior midfielder Fernando Lopez assisted on the goal.
Elyria was able to keep the pressure on and create scoring chances, even having a pair of balls smack off the crossbar, but the Pioneers were unable to find the back of the net again.
North Olmsted (7-8-2) answered with Sanborn’s first goal of the night in the 53rd minute.
Both goals started with an Eagles counterattack that allowed Sanborn to create space down the near sideline.
“I saw an opening and just tried to beat the guy with my left,” Sanborn said of his game-winner. “There was a lot of pressure and we were running out of time. It got really tiring out there, it was hard on both teams. I was cramping up, but I knew I had to keep going.”
Under Ohio High School Athletic Association rules there are no overtimes during the regular season so this was first time either side had to push themselves for more than 80 minutes.
North Olmsted had two scoring chances in the first three minutes of overtime, the second one ending when Pioneers defender Carter Pyecroft dashed in front of his team’s open goal to play a ball out of harm’s way that had gotten behind the rest of the Elyria defense.
“Overtime is so hard on the kids because you can’t replicate the intensity of a match in training,” Heighberger said. “Everything is on the line, you don’t have yourself in a position like that many times during the season. You lose and you’re done or you win and you go on … that’s a lot of mental pressure and it’s hard to prepare for that.”
The Pioneers got another fine effort in goal by senior Logan Boddy, a converted midfielder who made 12 saves to finish with 119 for the season.
“Logan is a field player at heart,” Heighberger said. “He sacrificed himself this season and jumped in goal for us and the team is very grateful for that, as am I. He did a fine job for us tonight and all season.”
After starting 6-2, the Pioneers went 1-7-1 in their final nine matches.
Even though the Eagles squandered some good scoring opportunities late in the match, North Olmsted coach Joe Zarycki was confident they’d eventually find that elusive second goal.
“We were going against the wind for the first half of overtime so I told the boys let’s just relax and get through and once we got the wind we’d be able to make something happen,” Zarycki said. “We were a little disappointed that Elyria was seeded higher than us coming in. They gave us a fantastic game tonight, but we’re happy to win and move on.”
North Olmsted 2, Elyria 1 (OT)
GOALS: (NO) Ryan Sanborn (53rd minute, 102nd minute). (E) Joshua Rader (30th minute).
ASSISTS: (E) Fernando Lopez.
SAVES: (NO) Gannon Graf 9. (E) Logan Boddy 12.
SHOTS ON GOAL: North Olmsted 14. Elyria 10.
CORNER KICKS; North Olmsted 8. Elyria 2.
OFFSIDES: Elyria 2.
YELLOW CARDS: (NO) Tyler Rollins (40th minute). (E) Charles Locklear (67th minute).
HALFTIME: Elyria, 1-0.