ELYRIA — Midview and Elyria staged the kind of fan-friendly nail-biter Monday afternoon that old and grumpy backyard rivals seem to do best.
In a Division I sectional girls soccer opener, the Pioneers and Middies were tied with under 10 minutes to play, and a large and vocal crowd was getting edgy.
Then in the 71st minute, Emily Leyva, a tall sophomore midfielder, put Midview fans on their feet with a goal off an assist from junior Rachel Maver. The Middies made it hold up and went back to Eaton Township with a 2-1 victory.
It was Midview’s second win over Elyria this year. The Middies posted a 3-0 victory when the teams met in the season opener.
Click any image to view larger.
Their reward is a 4 p.m. Thursday sectional final date with Amherst on the sod at Amherst Junior High. The winner advances to a district semifinal match against either Westlake or Avon, which clash in a sectional final at 7 p.m. Wednesday on Westlake’s Read Field.
The Middies and Pioneers had been tied at 1-all since the 37th minute after Midview sophomore Andrea Webb corralled a loose ball in the Elyria end. She dribbled in for a one-on-one encounter with Pioneers goalkeeper Ashley Curtis and scored into the right corner.
Until then, Elyria (5-7-5) had led since the 27th minute. That was when sophomore Abbey Ramirez scored unassisted with a left-to-right shot from 20 yards. Leyva’s eventual winner came after both sides turned up the offensive pressure after halftime. Before Leyva scored, both teams had scoring chances but couldn’t finish.
“I just took that shot. You just take chances because you never know,” Leyva said. “The ball bounced off Rachel Maver. She volleyed it and it went in the air. I decided to go for it. I trapped it first and gave it a kick in. This means a lot to us.”
As for second-half scoring chances, Middies junior Morgan Bowman zinged a shot off the right goalpost in the 49th minute. Elyria counterattacked and earned a corner kick, which drew a crowd right in front of Midview’s junior keeper, Taylor Ceh. There was a scramble, but the Pioneers couldn’t capitalize.
The Middies’ Kayla Hirschfelder, a senior, put a left-footer on target in the 51st minute and junior Kayla Keesecker missed just wide left three minutes later. In the 57th minute, the Pioneers’ Ramirez found freshman midfielder Kayla Vance with a pass in the box. But Vance’s shot banged loudly off the right goalpost.
Before Leyva hit the winner, the Middies squandered a golden opportunity when they missed left of Elyria’s wide-open net with a shot in the 69th minute. And Pioneers senior Sam Wilms put a shot right on Ceh in the 78th minute and got a one-on-one chance against Ceh a minute later, but couldn’t finish.
So it went.
Midview (5-10-2) got off to a slow start, but picked up the pace after halftime.
“It’s tough for them, now that we’re used to (artificial) turf, to get themselves going on this grass,” Emily Ballantine, Midview’s first-year coach, said. “I think maybe the mud and the weather were in their heads a little bit. Once they felt comfortable with themselves and their surroundings, they could really start to focus on their game.”
Elyria coach Venera Ilievski said she thought the Pioneers played with intensity.
“We’re a better team than we were when we first played them in August,” she said. “That’s what made it an exciting game today. They just finished one more than us. I think we were very evenly matched today and we both had equal opportunities. Good luck to Midview. They’re a good, well-coached team and I wish them the best of luck.”
Midview 2, Elyria 1
- GOALS: (M) Morgan Bowman (37th minute), Emily Leyva (71st minute); (E) Abbey Ramirez (27th minute)
- ASSISTS: (M) Rachel Maver.
- SHOTS: Midview 13, Elyria 8.
- SHOTS ON FRAME: Midview 7, Elyria 6.
- SAVES: (M) Taylor Ceh 5; (E) Ashley Curtis 5.
- GOAL KICKS: Midview 5, Elyria 6.
- CORNER KICKS: Midview 1, Elyria Catholic 5.
- OFFSIDE: Midview 3, Elyria 3.
- HANDBALLS: Midview 2.
- FOULS: Midview 8, Elyria 5.
- CARDS: (E) Darian Jones, yellow, 76th minute.
- HALF: 1-1.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.