WELLINGTON — Despite losing 19 seniors from last year’s squad, the young Elyria Catholic team — with one freshman, six sophomores and only two seniors — opened the soccer season with a dominating 3-0 win at Wellington in a non-conference match Monday night.
For Wellington, the positive was that the match was much more competitive than the Dukes’ 11-0 loss to the Panthers last season.
Elyria Catholic scored the only goal it needed with 20:35 left in the first half when team captain, junior Michael Saddler, put in a header from 18 yards out on a lob pass from sophomore Jeff Ruiz.
That goal affected Wellington’s confidence after they had played competitively over the first 19:25 of the match and the Dukes never recovered.
The rest of the first half was dominated by the Panthers as they outshot the Dukes 15-7.
Sophomore Gage Jarvis got the second goal on a long shot from 25-yards out with 11:30 remaining in the half, assisted again by Ruiz. Sophomore Liam O’Halloran scored the final goal of the game with a breakaway shot from 20 yards out after a nice lob pass from junior Luke Janosik with 4:02 left in the half.
Another factor was depth. Elyria Catholic had 16 players on the sideline but Wellington only three as the Panthers substituted freely to keep players fresh.
“Yes, numbers are a problem,” Wellington coach William Bogan said. “But our youth soccer programs are improving and that problem should be cleared up in the future. We’ve worked hard on conditioning so I don’t think our lack of numbers hurt us that much.
“What really hurt was when EC scored that first goal we suffered a mental letdown after playing so well up until then. You’ve got to have continued confidence in what you are doing works. But we’ll adjust.”
The second-half stalemate saw Elyria get off only seven shots, while the Dukes registered only two.
“I thought we played good, especially in our passing,” Saddler said. “Jeff (Ruiz) had a good pass to me from the right.”
“We did pretty good until the last half, but I think overall we’re going to have a good season,” O’Halloran said.
First-year Elyria Catholic coach Attila Csiszar was pleased with the result.
“For a first game I was pretty happy,” he said. “We played a solid game and controlled the ball. I loved our passing game, which is always a key part of any game. We’re very young with just two seniors.”
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.