The Shoremen’s junior midfielder nailed two, which was more than enough in what became a 3-0 victory over Midview in non-conference play. Junior Alex Strimbu assisted on both. Avon Lake added the crusher when senior Joe Villari scored in the 78th minute, with senior Nick Stephenson assisting.
Avon Lake improved to 3-2-2, while Midview slipped to 2-4-1.
“My teammates did most of the work, I was just there,” Gjyrezi said. “I happened to be in the right spot at the right time, you know? Both goals were like that — unlucky touches by the defense, but my teammates did most of it. I was just in the right spot.”
He scored the only goal the Shoremen needed in the 12th minute with a shot into the lower-right corner of the Middies’ net. He treated them to a 2-0 halftime lead when he nailed his second in the 25th minute.
“First of all, hats off to Midview,” Avon Lake coach Dan Ogilvy said. “They came out and worked very hard. But I was happy to see a lot of our guys tonight. I think we were able to get 29 guys in for some varsity experience and you know the majority of them (non-starters) played the first 30 minutes of the second half. You never know when you’ll have injuries and some of them will have to slide in and fill different roles.”
Midview, which managed just one shot the first half, ramped up the offense after the break. The Middies sent nine shots toward the Avon Lake net the second 40 minutes, and gave themselves several chances to score.
Junior midfielder Ryan Beckloff sent the ball to junior midfielder Kevin Grau in the 53rd minute, but Grau’s shot went over the net. Seconds later, sophomore Silvester Messiah put a shot right on Avon Lake keeper Mackenzie Bates, but Bates handled the task routinely.
Barely a minute later, Grau put the ball at the feet of Middies sophomore Tom Wynne, but the Avon Lake defense broke up the play without incident. Beckloff, working near the goal line, took a shot in the 73rd minute that hit the side of the Shoremen’s net, and Messiah was just wide left with another right-footer in the 75th minute.
So it went for the Middies.
The match might have been more one-sided save for the work of Bradley Urig, Midview’s junior goalkeeper, who saved six of Avon Lake’s nine shots on target, and most of the saves were less than routine.
Notably, Urig made a highlight-film save of a bang-bang, point-blank shot by Avon Lake senior Michael Nock in the 59th minute.
“As the ball came in, I saw the guy (Nock) about to take the volley, so I stepped in front of it,” Urig said. “I just tried to put it out of bounds and keep it from going into the goal. I mean, he was just 5 yards out or so.”
Jon Fitzgerald, Midview’s first-year coach, said he and his Middies knew they were in for a battle.
“They’re a good team and they make it simple,” he said of the Shoremen. “When you step on the ball and you pick your head up and make good passes — like they do — good things happen. But I’m proud of my boys. They’ve been in every game this year and we’re fighting. Our goal has been to get better, win games as the year goes on and win some games in the playoffs.”
Avon Lake 3, Midview 0
GOALS: Kevin Gjyrezi 2 (12th, 25th), Joe Villari (78th).
ASSISTS: Alex Strimbu 2, Nick Stephenson.
SHOTS: Avon Lake 12, Midview 10.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Avon Lake 9, Midview 2.
SAVES: (AL) Zac Strimbu 1, Mackenzie Bates 1. (M) Bradley Urig 6.
CORNER KICKS: Avon Lake 7, Midview 1.
GOAL KICKS: Midview 4.
OFFSIDE: Avon Lake 2, Midview 4.
HANDBALLS: Avon Lake 1.
FOULS: Avon Lake 8, Midview 11.
YELLOW CARDS: (M) Bradley Bykowicz (34th), Casey Polen (68th).
HALFTIME: Avon Lake, 2-0.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.