ELYRIA — Just in case anyone needed a reminder, Elyria Catholic sent a message Saturday night that come October, the route to the Division III district championship will run right through Knights of Columbus Field.
The Panthers scored three times in the first 20 minutes of the second half to take control and went on to down Oberlin 5-1 in a rematch of last year’s district title game.
Junior Liam O’Halloran and senior Ryan Medves scored two goals each for Elyria Catholic, which improved to 2-0.
“We wanted to put a lot of pressure on early,” said Medves, whose three goals this season have all come after halftime. “We wanted to show we can control the district, put ourselves on top and make a statement. Our game is passing, moving the ball and playing through at the right times. If we do that we’ll come through with goals.”
Medves scored his team’s final two goals, the first coming in the 60th minute when he drilled a free kick from 35 yards away. Seven minutes later he scored again with an assist from Jeremy Kelling.
The Panthers outshot Oberlin 7-0 over the first 40 minutes, but scored just once. That was in the fifth minute, when O’Halloran received a through ball from a midfield dribble up the left side of the Oberlin penalty box. He froze Phoenix keeper Tam Cadenhead on the left post and put the ball into the far corner of the net with his right foot. He also scored again in the 54th minute to make the score 3-0.
“We’re running more offensive formations this season, trying to get more goals,” said O’Halloran, who is tied for the team lead with three goals. “We added an extra forward to the mix and it’s paying off. My teammates played me some perfect balls tonight and I was able to score on them.”
The Panthers came out in a 4-3-3 formation to create more scoring chances.
O’Halloran echoed the sentiment that Saturday was a statement match against an Oberlin team that took the Panthers into overtime before losing 2-1 in last year’s district final.
“Our goal was not to have the same score line as the district final,” he said. “We wanted to go out there and pound them and not even give them a chance this time.”
Oberlin (2-2) eventually got on the board in the 62nd minute on a goal by sophomore Jack McMillin off a Dante LaRiccia assist.
First-year Phoenix coach Michael Schmid now has two weeks to prepare his young team — Oberlin doesn’t have any seniors on its roster — for the start of Patriot Athletic Conference play.
“The season is not over in one game, especially when you play a team as talented as Elyria Catholic,” Schmid said. “The biggest thing is we just go home and clear our minds and look forward. We can’t let this bring us down.”
Gage Jarvis scored the other Elyria Catholic goal in the 43rd minute, one of two Panthers goals assisted by senior midfielder Michael Saddler. Marty Conroy turned back five of Oberlin’s six shots.
“The second half we started moving off ball and making crisp passes and we performed much better,” Elyria Catholic coach Attila Csiszar said. “In the first half, we were playing kickball in the middle of the field and we didn’t possess the ball. We can’t play the way we played in the first half if we expect to beat the quality opponents on our schedule.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria Catholic 5, Oberlin 1
GOALS: (O) McMillin 62nd minute; (EC) O’Halloran 5th minute, 54rd minute; Medves 60th minute, 67th minute; Jarvis 43rd minute.
ASSISTS: (O) LaRiccia; (EC) Saddler 2, Kelling
SAVES: (O) Cadenhead 9; (EC) Conroy 5
SHOTS ON GOAL: Oberlin 6, EC 14
CORNER KICKS: Oberlin 3, EC 10
OFFSIDES: Oberlin 1, EC 3
FOULS: Oberlin 7, EC 15
HALFTIME: Elyria Catholic, 1-0