ROCKY RIVER — It became obvious Wednesday night why Rocky River is Ohio’s ninth-ranked soccer team and forward Abby Elinsky is the second-leading goal scorer in Division II.
Elinsky put up a hat trick and added two assists as the Pirates dominated Elyria Catholic 8-0 in West Shore Conference play. In addition, they got two goals each from Jillian Krebs and Grace Bennett. Elyria Catholic, ranked 15th in Division II, was undefeated with four ties going in.
Rocky River, which blanked Elyria Catholic by the same score last season, controlled the midfield from start to finish. The Pirates’ defense shut the Panthers down with just six shots for the match, only one on goal.
Meantime, the Pirates took 19 shots and put 11 of them on target. They led 6-0 at the break.
Rocky River (10-1, 5-0 WSC), tied for the conference lead with Bay, has lost only to Holy Name, the fourth-ranked Division II team.
The Panthers dropped to 7-1-4 and 1-1-3.
“We went out there to prove that we’re (ranked) where we should be,” Elinsky said. “Games like that, you just go out, show that you can do it and have fun out there. When we weren’t ranked, it was just something that kept us pushing because we knew we should be. Now, we just have to keep going.”
Elinsky and Krebs teamed up for Rocky River’s first goal in the fourth minute, Elinsky getting a header to Krebs, who kicked it in. Hallie McCue, with an assist from Krebs, made it 2-0 in the 20th minute, and it was a 3-0 game when Krebs, assisted by Megan Killeen, scored in the 26th minute.
Grace Bennett, assisted by Elinsky; Elinsky, with an assist from McCue, and Elinsky again — this time unassisted — all scored before halftime. Second-half goals by Bennett and Elinsky were unassisted.
Elyria Catholic, which really had no strong scoring opportunities, got its only shot on frame by Sara Pallendino in the 78th minute. Keely Birsic just missed the left goalpost in the 15th minute and Lauren Wisnor was also wide left in the 21st minute. But that was as close as the Panthers came to scoring.
“Before this game we talked about we want to win each half,” Pirates coach Patrick Hopkins said. “We don’t focus on our opponents. We go out there and play our style of soccer. We go out there to play our game and see how the other team can handle us. We don’t make a lot of adjustments toward other teams as much as let’s make them adjust to us.”
Panthers coach Tony Rozanc said Rocky River is a strong team, but Elyria Catholic could have played defensively.
“We didn’t defend corners very well tonight and that pretty much set the tone,” he said. “And it seemed like their first three shots were just spot on, too. That kind of took the wind out of our sails. But we’ll recover.”
Rocky River 8, Elyria Catholic 0
GOALS: (RR) Abby Elinsky 3 (36th, 39th, 52nd minutes), Jillian Krebs 2 (4th, 26th minutes), Grace Bennett 2 (33rd minute, 33rd minute, 54th minute), Hallie McCue (20th minute).
ASSISTS: (RR) Elinsky 2, Krebs, Megan Killeen, McCue.
SHOTS: Elyria Catholic 6; Rocky River 19.
SHOTS ON FRAME: Elyria Catholic 1, Rocky Rver 11.
SAVES: (EC) Katie Gauntner 9; (RR) Sara Connelly 1, Jessie Lekstutis 0.
GOAL KICKS: Elyria Catholic 11, Rocky River 5.
CORNER KICKS: Rocky River 9.
OFFSIDE: Elyria Catholic 1, Rocky River 2.
FOULS: Elyria Catholic 5, Rocky River 3.
HALF: Rocky River, 6-0.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.