October 24, 2014

Elyria
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High school soccer: Wellington’s Grace Dooley, Oberlin’s Sam Weiss make first team All-Ohio

Grace Dooley and Sam Weiss have something in common besides being first-team Division III All-Ohio soccer players.

Dooley never really wanted to play defense and pretty much no defense this season really wanted to play Weiss.

Dooley, a senior sweeper from Wellington, and Weiss, a senior striker from Oberlin, were the lone Lorain County players to make first team all-state when the Ohio soccer coaches association recently released its selections.

Avon senior forward Fredrik Troupe made second team in Division I, while Elyria Catholic junior midfielder Michael Saddler and Columbia senior midfielder Matt Zelinsky were second-team picks in Division III.

On the girls side, Firelands senior midfielder Jessica Zurcher was a second-team pick in Division II and Elyria Catholic senior defender Lauren Wisnor made second team in Division III.

Dooley, a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter, helped the Dukes go 11-6-2, post 13 shutouts and make it to the district finals. Not bad for someone who wasn’t thrilled when she was moved from offense to sweeper during her freshman season.

“It bothered me,” she said.

Since the move, she’s just focused on bothering opposing offenses, though she downplays her role.

“My main job is to tell girls what to do,” she said. “My (team’s) defense was awesome. They did a lot of the work back there. They made it easy for me to just clean up simple mistakes.”

Dukes coach Kevin Ziegler knows better.

“She’s a big part of that,” he said of the team’s shutouts, noting that Dooley also takes all the team’s restarts and all the corner kicks from the left side. “She’s a really nice soccer player and a really good defender.”

“She’s just real confident and comfortable,” he said. “She doesn’t ever panic.”

“I guess I like having the game in front of me,” said Dooley, who plays basketball for Wellington but does not play club soccer. “I guess I learned what to expect and how to react to things.”

Weiss does play club soccer. He plays soccer year-round, in fact, though he also was the kicker for the football team the past two seasons.

All he did this year on the soccer field was score 40 goals and lead the Phoenix to a 15-3-1 record and a trip to the district finals.

“He had a storybook season,” Oberlin coach Matt Fox said, noting that Weiss was the team MVP and the player of the year in the Patriot Athletic Conference and in his division in Lorain County.

A year ago, Weiss had 17 goals but didn’t earn many postseason honors. He was confident enough, however, to tell an area paper that he wanted to break the school record for goals in a season.

“Partly joking,” he said.

He missed the record by one goal.

Fairly amazing, considering he was the lone striker in Oberlin’s attack and thus the constant focus of defenses game after game after game.

“He had to deal with being the most recognizable forward in the whole area,” said Fox, who noted the decision was made about a week into practice this season that Weiss would carry that load.

“We realized he would be the only formidable striker we’d have,” Fox said, “and that he could handle that role.”

Needless to say, he did.

Contact Kevin Aprile at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.