OLMSTED FALLS — What began as a night to celebrate the 12 seniors on the Olmsted Falls soccer team ended with junior Alexa Aubel stealing the show.
Aubel recorded a hat trick, scoring all three goals in a span of 17 minutes, as the Bulldogs defeated Elyria 6-1 in a non-league match.
Aubel, who has five goals this season, said her team learned a simple lesson Saturday night — you have to shoot to score.
“We haven’t played this well in a long time, tonight was fun,” Aubel said. “All season we just haven’t taken shots. We move well off the ball and create opportunities but we normally wait to take the perfect shot. Tonight we just saw an opening and shot the ball and look what happened. It really worked out.”
The Bulldogs (5-9) scored first in the fifth minute when Sarah Fissel found Laney Haviland wide open on the near post and delivered a pinpoint pass that Haviland nailed home to make the score 1-0. Ten minutes later, Mikaela Eisenloeffel scored off of a crossing pass by Alexa Gomez to make it 2-0.
Elyria (4-9) answered 14 seconds later when Abbey Ramirez scored the lone Pioneers goal, which momentarily cut the Olmsted Falls lead in half.
Aubel scored her first goal in the 27th minute, followed with another off a MacKenzie Ferguson free kick in the 35th minute and completed the hat trick four minutes into the second half.
With just one healthy substitute on the bench, Elyria coach Venera Ilievski knew her team would have a hard time scoring goals. However, she thought her defense was decent, withstanding 27 shots, though six did find the net.
“Kudos to Olmsted Falls,” she said. “They played a great game. But I can’t tell you how proud I am of my defense. They stepped it up so much. We like to play tough teams because that’s the only way you can get better. I know my girls played as hard as they could tonight and that’s all I can ask of them.”
In addition to the play of goalkeeper Jessica Gogan, who made 20 saves before leaving the game in favor of Jami Wright late in the second half, Ilievski said the defense has been bolstered by the presence of sophomore Shakia Stephens.
“I pulled her from the front and put her on defense and she has found her niche,” Ilievski said. “She was born to play defense.”
The match started out on an emotional note when senior Lauren Walchanowicz, who missed the entire season after tearing her ACL in a scrimmage against Lakewood, took the field on crutches to receive the opening kickoff. She kicked the ball to a teammate, who booted it out of play so Walchanowicz, whose twin sister Leah is the Bulldogs goalkeeper, could safely return to the bench.
“It’s was a nice team effort tonight and it made it even better that we have a game like this on senior night,” Olmsted Falls coach Pete DuBois said. “When the girls get it in their mind to actually pass the ball they do a nice job of it. Not only were we tactically moving the ball well, we were actually looking for good shots. There’s one week left in the season so we have to be ready to play. We have to bring like we brought it tonight when the tournament starts.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olmsted Falls 6, Elyria 1
Goals: (OF) Aubel 3 (27th minute, 35th minute, 44th minute), Eisenloeffel (15th minute), Haviland (5th minute), Ferguson (65th minute); (E) Ramirez 15th minute.
Assists: (E) Mariner; (OF) Fissel, Ferguson, Gomez
Saves: (E) Gogan 20, Wright 1; (OF) Walchanowicz 6
Shots on Goal: Olmsted Falls 27, Elyria 7
Fouls: Elyria 6, Olmsted Falls 8
Corner Kicks: Elyria 2, Olmsted Falls 8
Offsides: Olmsted Falls 5, Elyria 1
Halftime: Olmsted Falls 4-1