ELYRIA — Nobody or nothing was going to rain on Elyria Catholic’s parade Tuesday night.
Despite a five-minute delay in the second half due to the activation of a timed sprinkler system, Elyria Catholic began its season with a 4-0 shutout of Notre Dame Cathedral Latin at Knights of Columbus Field in a North Coast League match.
The wet area around the goal did perhaps slow down the Panthers, because they scored only one goal in the second half.
Juniors Stephen Saddler and David Elwer each scored a pair of goals in a match that was pretty much de-cided in the first half.
In fact, the Panthers only needed 1:39 of the clock to score the game-winning goal.
Saddler took an inbounds pass from Elwer and scored with a header in front of the net less than two minutes into the season. It was particularly satisfying for Saddler because he sat out all of last season after suffering an injury in the 2009 season opener.
“I was pretty bummed all last year watching from the sidelines,” he said. “But now I’m mostly fully recovered. Dave made a perfect pass and I saw the goalie go forward, so I just put it in over his head. The second one was just like the first.”
Saddler’s second goal came with 12:25 remaining in the first half and indeed came from a header off Elwer’s inbounds pass. Tuesday’s multiple-goal game was Saddler’s first since he had a pair during his freshman season.
Elwer was even more spectacular. In addition to the two key assists to Saddler, Elwer scored unassisted breakaway goals with 1:17 left in the first half and 3:36 remaining in the match.
“Yeah, this was probably my best game ever,” Elwer said. “On both my goals, I was closely guarded by a defender until I finally shook him off for the shot that sneaked past the goalie.”
After Saddler went down last year, Elwer switched positions.
Elyria Catholic avenged a 1-0 loss to NDCL last year by dominating Tuesday’s match. The Panthers outshot the Lions, 24-9.
The match went better than planned for Elyria Catholic coach Mike Wisnor, who was happy to begin his ninth season with a victory.
“We came out with the objective of scoring in the first 10 minutes,” he said. “Getting such an early goal as we did, we couldn’t have asked for anything more.
“This being our last season in the NCL (Elyria Catholic moves to the West Shore Conference next year) it was very important to get off to a positive start. We’re going to give it our all to win the title in our last year. I think we can play with anybody in the league.”
“I give all the credit to EC,” said NDCL coach Michael Sesar. “They came out with the intensity we didn’t have. We were flat early on, but got better the second half.”
The Lions were only outshot 14-5 in the second half and even got the ball into the net once, but it was nullified by a foul, which Sesar contested.
Elyria Catholic 4, NDCL 0
GOALS: (EC)Stephen Saddler 2, David Elwer 2.
ASSISTS: (EC) Elwer 2.
SAVES: (EC) Frank Sanabria 8. (NDCL) Jamie McGinnis 2, Kevin Gebura 2.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Elyria Catholic 24, Notre Dame Cathedral Latin 9.
HALFTIME: Elyria Catholic 3, NDCL 0.