ELYRIA — When Elyria Catholic is awarded a penalty kick, sophomore midfielder Jenna Ellingson takes it.
There’s a good reason for that. She has never missed one, and that adds up to at least 10 over her two varsity seasons.
Ellingson nailed her fourth PK of the season Monday night at Knights of Columbus Field. Routine day at the office.
She also scored a conventional goal which helped the undefeated Panthers (7-0-4) to a 3-0 non-conference victory over Cuyahoga Heights. EC (7-0-4) is ranked 15th statewide in Division III.
The Panthers also got a goal from junior tri-captain Danielle Dziak and junior goalkeeper Katie Gauntner posted her fourth shutout of the season. With the loss, Cuyahoga Heights dropped to 6-2-2. EC defeated the Redskins twice last year, once in the regular season and 1-0 in a district semifinal in double overtime.
Ellingson gave the Panthers the only goal they needed with the PK in the 30th minute following a Redskins foul in the penalty box.
“I really don’t try to think too hard,” she said of her penalty-kicking philosophy. “I just try to remember what I’ve been practicing. If I think about it too much, I might miss. I just take the shot and hope it goes in.”
Her second goal, which created the final score, came in the 44th minute with an assist by senior tri-captain Lauren Wisnor. It was her seventh of the year.
Barely a minute earlier, Dziak made it 2-0 when she scored with an assist by sophomore Sara Pallendino. It came at a time when the Panthers had turned up the offensive heat.
“There was a cross by Sara over to the right side of the goal,” Dziak said. “I just hit it in. Just a little tap. It was the first goal I’ve had in a while.”
The goal, her third of the season, was timely because the Panthers heard at halftime about the scoring chances they had missed the first 40 minutes.
“At halftime, we talked about keeping up our pace and intensity,” she said. “Usually when we’re a goal up, we tend to get overconfident. So we talked about keeping our heads level and that we kept up our play.”
The Panthers turned in another strong defensive job, limiting the Redskins to nine total shots and just three on frame.
“Our approach is pretty much not to let the ball through the back line and to always keep the ball in front of us,” Gauntner said. “Also, to always hustle back if the ball does get past us. I think that’s been working for us pretty well.”
“They’ve always given us trouble,” EC coach Tony Rozanc said of the Redskins. “It’s always a tough game. We had a ton of opportunities in the first half, so I told them just to stick with it. They have a great goalkeeper (Jenna Stegmaier) and I told them we have to make extra passes to beat her.”
EC faces a stern West Shore Conference test against Rocky River at 7 p.m. Wednesday at K of C Field.
EC 3, Cuyahoga Heights 0
- GOALS: (EC) Jenna Ellingson 2 (pk, 30th minute, 44th minute), Danielle Dziak (43rd minute).
- ASSISTS: (EC)Sara Pallendino, Lauren Wisnor.
- SHOTS: Cuyahoga Heights 9, Elyria Catholic 17.
- SHOTS ON FRAME: Cuyahoga Heights 3, Elyria Catholic 9.
- SAVES: (CH) Jenna Stegmaier 6, (EC) Katie Gauntner 3.
- GOAL KICKS: Cuyahoga Heights 6, Elyria Catholic 7.
- CORNER KICKS: Cuyahoga Heights 2, Elyria Catholic 3.
- HANDBALLS: Elyria Catholic 4.
- FOULS: Cuyahoga Heights 4, Elyria Catholic 5.
- YELLOW CARDS: (EC) Jenna Smith (56th minute).
- HALF: Elyria Catholic, 1-0.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.