August 20, 2014

Elyria
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High school soccer notes: Near-perfect pitch awaiting Avon Lake boys

For the second year in a row the Avon Lake boys will take the field at Columbus Crew Stadium when they take on Mentor as part of the Crew Elite Game Series on Oct. 8. The Shoremen (5-3-3) traditionally play one of the area’s toughest schedules.

“Last year we played four teams that were ranked in the top 10 at some point in the season,” Avon Lake coach Dan Ogilvy said. “We have consistently shown we can compete with the elite teams.”

Ogilvy said it’s a special experience for his players to play on the same pitch that’s been the site of the MLS Cup and numerous World Cup qualifying matches, as well as the Ohio High School Athletic Association state championships.

“It was so cool last year to see the look in the boys’ eyes when they stepped on the field,” Ogilvy said. “Just to see the condition of the grass and how wide the field is compared to some of the high school fields we play on. It’s well worth the work that it takes to make it happen.”

With a balanced offensive attack led by senior captain Nick Stevenson (six goals), Alex Strimbu, Joey Villari and Alex Yungvirt (five goals each), the Shoremen are hoping to advance to the district finals for the third time in four years.

Top of the charts

According to the statistics posted on the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association website, a pair of Lorain County girls are among the top 10 goal scorers in the state. Firelands junior Jessica Zurcher is tied for sixth with 20 goals, while Wellington’s Jacoby Ziegler is tied for 10th with 19.

Under the lights

For the first time in school history the Lake Ridge Academy boys and girls soccer teams will take the field under the lights tonight. The school rented lights and will illuminate its soccer field for the boys game against Hearts For Jesus at 6:30 and the 8 o’clock girls game against Elyria Catholic in what could be a preview of the Division III district tournament.

“We’re trying to build community spirit and thought this would be a great opportunity to showcase our soccer program,” Lake Ridge athletic director Debby Ghezzi said.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Connor Klekota, Amherst

• YEAR: Senior
• LAST WEEK: Scored four goals in three games, including the only goal in a 1-0 win over Brecksville.
• BIO: Plays club soccer for the Columbus Crew Soccer Academy. Will attend the University of Notre Dame on a soccer scholarship. Is a member of the National Honor Society and Youth 4 Youth. Favorite athlete is Everton fullback Leighton Baines.
• PARENTS: Alan and Tammy

Jillian Strimbu, Avon Lake

• YEAR: Senior
• LAST WEEK: Had two goals and three assists in a 7-0 win over Olmsted Falls. Also had two assists in a win over perennial Division II power Hathaway Brown.
• BIO: A member of the National Honor Society, she also ejoys horseback riding. Plays club ball for the Excalibur Soccer Club. Favorite athlete is Abby Wambach, who was a key member of the U.S. Women’s World Cup team.
• PARENTS: Victor and Debbie