ELYRIA — The Elyria Cup will return to the same place it has been since the year 2000 — the trophy case at Elyria Catholic.
The Panthers scored early, in the second minute of the match, and often, four times in the second half, defeating Elyria 6-0 Saturday at Knights of Columbus Field.
It is the seventh time in the series that dates back to 1997 that the Pioneers were held scoreless by their crosstown rivals.
“This is still a young team and they are just beginning to understand the sense of urgency you have to have to win at this level,” Elyria Catholic coach Attila Csiszar said. “In the second half tonight, I started to see them play with the urgency. This game was very important to all of the kids to keep the cup here at Elyria Catholic so they can see it every day.”
The Panthers (3-2-1) scored early on a goal by Gage Jarvis off of an assist by junior captain Michael Saddler, then in the 76th minute, Saddler closed out the scoring with a well-placed penalty kick deposited into the lower right-hand corner of the net.
“As a captain, I stepped in there and wanted to take the penalty, not only because I wanted to score in the Elyria Cup but also because I wanted to be directly involved in helping our team win,” Saddler said.
Midfielder Tony Sanabria was the only senior in uniform for Elyria Catholic, so it was up to the youngsters to take charge, and sophomore Liam O’Halloran scored the first of his two goals in the 26th minute to put his side on top 2-0. He then made the score 3-0 in the 55th minute with a high shot from 20 yards away that flew into the upper left-hand corner of the goal over the outstretched arms of Elyria freshman goalkeeper Carlos Lopez.
“I am happy we could keep the cup at home,” O’Halloran said. “This was one of our best offensive games because the midfield came up and supported the forwards. If we can keep this up, keep playing good offensive and keep finishing, we can accomplish the same things Elyria Catholic did last season.”
Sophomore Spencer Fetcko got in on the scoring spree in the 60th minute to make it 4-0, and it was his corner kick that set up Matt Ruiz with the game’s fifth goal.
Elyria Catholic goalkeeper Marty Conroy turned back all three Elyria shots. The Pioneers (2-2-1) tried attacking the left side of the Panthers’ defense but were only able to get shots from awkward angles near the corner flag.
“I told the boys at the beginning of the year that you need at least eight players to show up every game in order to have a chance to win,” first-year coach John Ball said. “Tonight, we only had three players that played like they really wanted to win. I don’t think we grasped the importance of the Elyria Cup. The seniors understood because it was their final chance, but I don’t think the younger players got it.
But I have nine first-year players so it is still a learning experience. They have to understand we don’t play a lot of easy teams and they have to be prepared every time they step on the field.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Elyria Catholic 6, Elyria 0
• GOALS: Jarvis (2nd minute), O’Halloran (26th minute, 55th minute), Fetcko (60th minute), Ruiz, M. (75th minute), Saddler (Penalty kick 77th minute)
• ASSISTS: Saddler, Fetcko, Jarvis
• SAVES: (E) Lopez (6 saves), (EC) Conroy (3 saves)
• CORNER KICKS: (EC) 3
• FOULS: (E) 9, (EC) 6
• OFFSIDE: (E) 2, (EC) 2
• HALFTIME: 2-0