AVON LAKE — It was fitting, after the final whistle blew, that a match as evenly played as Wednesday’s at Memorial Stadium would end in a tie — and take nearly 80 minutes to get there.
Avon Lake, despite dictating the pace for much of the match and registering many of the night’s best scoring chances, trailed St. Edward after the Eagles scored in the 45th minute.
But the Shoremen’s Evan Carlson tapped a goal into an open net with 10 seconds left for the equalizer.
The play got started when Avon Lake keeper Kane Adams, way out of his box as his team attempted to rally, sent a long ball that was headed over the charging Eagles keeper by Shoremen captain Alex Voloshen. Carlson beat the Eagles back line to it, and gave Adams credit for getting it started, lobbying for Adams to get credit for an assist.
“It was a great team play,” said Carlson, whose team lost 2-1 to Massillon Jackson in its season opener. “Kane played a great ball, Alex got his head on it and I was just there to finish it. (Adams) got his assist.”
For much of the night, a tip of the cap to St. Edward’s Jordan Shalala looked to be all the Shoremen would muster. Shalala scored the Eagles’ goal with a fantastic individual effort in the 45th minute, taking a through ball between two Shoremen defenders just inside the 18-yard box. From there, he fired a right-footer, narrowly beating Adams to the far post.
Despite St. Edward’s obvious desire to better possess the ball and make the Shoremen chase after the goal, Avon Lake had many of the game’s best chances, including two in the final six minutes.
In the 74th minute, Carlson’s header into the 6-yard box off a free kick was punched away by St. Edward keeper Nathaniel Brown. And in the 79th, Carlson’s perfect cross was headed over the bar by Kyle T. Smith.
Earlier, in the 67th, Eric Mills — who pushed St. Edward’s back line all evening from his right forward position — earned a free kick after he was taken down just outside the 18-yard box. Brown punched away the ensuing chance.
It all looked to add up to a frustrating defeat, until the late Adams-Voloshen-Carlson combo. Interestingly, Adams said his team got stronger as the game went on, despite playing with only 13 on a muggy night.
Avon Lake first-year coach Matt DeCapua said he doesn’t like to make many substitutions anyway, and after the junior varsity squad was beaten soundly, he told some of those players who normally would dress varsity that they’d have to earn it next time. St. Edward, meanwhile, played with a full bench.
“At the end of the game, I think they wanted to be done with us,” Adams said. “We had so much more (left) at the end of the game — we played through the deficit, through fatigue. That starts in the summer, and it pays off, especially when you want it.”
St. Edward coach Jim Duffy altered the Eagles’ approach at halftime, and they generated a couple nice scoring chances, including Shalala’s goal. He also said Avon Lake’s size and strength was a factor in the game, especially against his team, for which those traits aren’t necessarily assets.
DeCapua said that will be a strength for the Shoremen as the season goes on,
“That’s definitely something we’re trying to work on and improve upon,” said DeCapua.
“We have a lot of technical players, but we need to continue to get better at winning the ball and other physical parts of the game.
“We’re looking to get some momentum, and I thought we were the better team (against Massillon Jackson) and I thought we were the better team tonight.”
Contact Joel Hammond at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Avon Lake 1, St. Edward 1
GOALS: (SE) Jordan Shalala (45th); (AL) Evan Carlson (80th).
ASSISTS: (AL) Alex Voloshen.
SHOTS: St. Edward 12, Avon Lake 10.
SHOTS ON GOAL: St. Edward 9, Avon Lake 6.
SAVES: (SE) Nathaniel Brown 5; (AL) Kane Adams 8.
CORNER KICKS: St. Edward 1, Avon Lake 2.
GOAL KICKS: St. Edward 4, Avon Lake 8.
OFFSIDE: St. Edward 2, Avon Lake 1.
FOULS: St. Edward 5, Avon Lake 9.
CARDS: (AL) Eric Mills (yellow, 68th).