ELYRIA — It’s always a good to start the night with the quickest goal in Knights of Columbus Field history.
Elyria Catholic’s Andi Widmer scored just 15 seconds into the game and the Panthers never looked back in beating Lutheran West 5-1 in a girls Division III district semifinal.
“I was really eager for us to get on the board and I knew the weather was bad,” Widmer said of the driving rain that fell throughout the night. “We’ve worked on that in practices. I wanted to make sure we scored early to get to the district final.”
EC (12-3-3) will face Wellington, a 2-0 winner over Cuyahoga Heights, on Thursday at 7 p.m. The site is still to be determined.
Lutheran West ended its season at 7-11-1.
Aiding Widmer’s quick goal was the return of junior Jenna Ellingson, who missed the last month with a concussion. All Ellingson did was score a hat trick as the Panthers cruised.
“I’m really excited for us, we’ve worked really hard all season and it’s starting to pay off,” said Ellingson who has seven goals on the year. “We’re finally starting to find the back of the net and it’s working for us.”
Ellingson scored about 13 minutes after the opening score, taking a throw-in from the right side that deflected off a Lutheran West defender. She made one move and was able to beat Longhorns goalie Suquel Collozo for the 2-0 lead.
Widmer added her second score of the night on a piece of awesome one-touch passing that started with Ellingson from the left side to the top of the box to Sara Pallendino, who sent the ball to Widmer in the middle of the box for an open score.
The Panthers pressured Lutheran West from the start, looking for breakaway chances. Eight of those opportunities resulted in offside calls. They finished the night being called offside 15 times.
The Longhorns’ first shot-on-goal resulted in a score when Kara Villwock was fouled in the box. Villwock went upper-right on the penalty kick to cut the lead to 3-1 in the 37th minute.
“We just needed to finish every chance we got,” Lutheran West coach Jeff Bancroft said. “We knew they were the better team. “If you don’t get them early, you’re going to be in trouble.”
Ellingson completed her hat trick with a spectacular sliding goal off a crossing pass from Meliah Roman and on a header in the 72nd minute on a Julia Scarpelli corner kick.
The score would have been much worse had it not been for the defensive play of freshman Taya Hampton and Villwock, a junior. Throw in 14 saves, 10 in the second half, for Collozo and the Longhorns could have been down by a much larger margin.
“It’s good to have a lead when (the rain) starts,” Panthers coach Tony Rozanc said. “We have a lot of team speed and the rain kind of slowed us down a little bit. The conditions were bad, but we dealt with it and got through it.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Elyria Catholic 5, Lutheran West 1
GOALS: (EC) Andi Widmer 2, Jenna Ellingson 3; (LW) Kara Villwock.
ASSISTS: (EC) Sara Pallendino, Meliah Roman, Julia Scarpelli.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Elyria Catholic 19, Lutheran West 3
SAVES: (EC) Katie Gauntner 2; (LW) Suquel Collozo 14
CORNER KICKS: Elyria Catholic 8, Lutheran West 3
OFFSIDE: Elyria Catholic 15, Lutheran West 1
FOULS: Elyria Catholic 8, Lutheran West 4
HALF: Elyria Catholic, 3-1