WESTLAKE — Westlake senior midfielder David Schade definitely wanted to make sure his last game at Read Field was a memorable one. Consider that mission accomplished.
Schade scored three goals to carry the second-seeded Demons to a 4-2 victory over Avon Lake in a Division I district semifinal match Tuesday night.
The Demons (11-4-3) advance to Saturday’s district championship game at North Olmsted. The top-seeded Eagles bested Lakewood 2-1 in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
Schade scored the goal that put Westlake ahead for good with just over nine minutes left to play when he worked his way through traffic in the box and found the net from about 6 yards out.
“I moved to the top of the box and looked for a play to develop,” Schade said. “When no play developed, I put the ball on my right foot and ripped it.”
“David is a phenomenal player,” said 20-year Westlake coach Mike Besu. “He deserves all that he gets. You can see why he’s headed to play at Ohio State.”
Avon Lake senior midfielder Tommy Kuzniar gave the third-seeded Shoremen 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the first half. Both goals came during action following corner kicks.
Kuzniar’s first goal came from close range in the 11th minute, with Jamie Kauffman picking up an assist.
Less than two minutes later, Schade tied the score with a free direct kick from 20 yards out.
Neither team could capitalize on what few opportunities they had over the next eight minutes. Dan Ohlemacher of the Shoremen saw a shot go high and wide right 10 minutes after Schade’s first goal. Phil Perry of the Demons got past Avon Lake goalie Logan Crist three minutes later, only to have his shot bounce harmlessly away after hitting the crossbar.
Kuzniar headed in a shot off another corner kick with four-and-a-half minutes left in the first half. Crist came up with big plays to preserve the 2-1 lead.
Disaster almost struck the Demons a little over 10 minutes into the second half. In an attempt to clear the ball, a Westlake player’s shot went back toward goalie Tim Hipskind, nearly resulting in an own goal.
Schade drew the winners even at 2 with another successful direct free kick from 24 yards out with 25½ minutes left to play. The goal appeared to put a spark in his teammates as they seized control of the game until the last few minutes.
Avon Lake nearly tied the score on a corner kick with a little less than two minutes to play. But the kick went past several Shoremen players, who were lined up with hopes of scoring the tying goal.
Freshman forward Alex Chernosky scored a fourth Westlake goal in the closing seconds.
“We came out a little flat, especially in the first half,” Besu said. “My hat’s off to Avon Lake. They gave us all we could handle. We bent but didn’t break. We converted our opportunities.
“David Schade had trouble with free kicks earlier in the season. It was really nice to see him take care of them in this game.”
First-year Avon Lake coach Dan Ogilvy obviously was disappointed but, at the same time, saw some positive things about his team’s efforts as they tried to avenge a 3-0 Southwestern Conference loss during the regular season.
“We did all that we could,” Ogilvy said. “This game could have gone either way. David Schade is an outstanding player for them. But we have our share of outstanding players.
“We had some great senior leadership. This was a great group of players to have for my first year. They make me enjoy coaching them.”
Westlake 4, Avon Lake 2
GOALS: (W) David Schade 3 (28th minute, 55th minute, 71st minute); Alex Chernosky (80th minute); (AL) Tommy Kuzniar 2 (11th minute, 36th minute).
ASSISTS: (AL) Jamie Kauffman, Corey Galloway.
SHOTS: Westlake 18; Avon Lake 8.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Westlake 8; Avon Lake 4.
SAVES: (W) Tim Hipskind 2; (AL) Logan Crist 4.
CARDS: (W) Lee Grossman (yellow, 27th minute); Peter Klein (yellow, 72nd minute).
CORNER KICKS: Westlake 7; Avon Lake 3.
HALFTIME: Avon Lake, 2-1.