OBERLIN — Sam Weiss has found out that being one of the top athletes in school means having people follow you everywhere you go.
Except in the Oberlin soccer forward’s case, it’s not adoring fans or paparazzi doing the following. It’s opposing defenders — usually two or three at a time — marking his every move.
Weiss, however, persevered again Monday, scoring both of his team’s goals in a 2-0 win over Firelands in Patriot Athletic Conference action.
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Weiss, who is also the kicker on Oberlin’s undefeated football team, scored on a free kick in the 31st minute, then put the game away with another goal off a Sam Levine assist with less than three minutes to play.
“I try to get into areas of the field where it would be almost impossible to follow me and still keep a structure defensively,” said Weiss about how he deals with the double and triple teams. “And I figure out how to take advantage of weak points in the opposing team.”
The Phoenix improved to 10-1 overall and 5-1 in the PAC, but coach Matt Fox was less than pleased by his team’s play.
“We’ve got to figure something out,” he said. “The last three games we’ve been flat and we’re not doing the things tactically that we talked about doing. You’re supposed to improve game by game as the season progresses but that’s not really happening right now.”
While the offense struggled to finish plays, the Oberlin defense, led by senior tri-captain Liam McMillin, rose to the occasion, drawing six offside calls and holding the Falcons to two shots on goal.
Firelands (5-3-2, 1-3-1), already one of the youngest teams in the area with 10 sophomores and six juniors on its 20-man roster, was playing without three starters who were sidelined due to illness or injury.
“I’m proud of the way we played tonight,” Firelands coach Kennie Searight said. “We were in a tough position facing an excellent Oberlin team with a limited bench, and our players rose to the challenge and gave a solid effort.”
The Falcons are hoping to be close to full strength when they take the field again Wednesday against Lutheran West in another PAC game.
Oberlin almost scored twice in the first half on a free kick from deep on the Falcons’ side of the field before Weiss finally found the back of the net. On one play in the 14th minute, Dante LaRiccia redirected a Weiss kick with his head, sending the ball bouncing off the bottom of the crossbar and off the turf behind goalkeeper Sam Miller before defender Daniel Klesta was able to boot the ball safely over the touch line.
“Set pieces are nice because those are goals that can come against any team in any situation, so regardless of how well we’re playing the set pieces are a good way of scoring quickly,” Weiss said.
With just five games remaining in the regular season, Oberlin is hoping it can get back to the early season form that helped it get off to n 8-0 start.
“We need to be more consistent,” Weiss said. “We need to piece together 80 solid minutes of soccer and we didn’t do that today,” he said. “We probably only played 30 consistent minutes of soccer.”
Oberlin 2, Firelands 0
- GOALS: (O) Weiss 2 (31st minute, 77th minute)
- ASSIST: (O) Levine
- SAVES: (F) Miller 9; (O) Ferguson 2
- SHOTS ON GOAL: Firelands 2, Oberlin 11.
- FOULS: Firelands 10, Oberlin 10
- OFFSIDES: Firelands 6
- CORNER KICKS: Firelands 2, Oberlin 1
- HALFTIME: Oberlin, 1-0
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.