ELYRIA — The awards and honors just keep rolling in for Elyria Catholic’s Michael Saddler.
On Sunday, Saddler was the only local player named to the All-Ohio first team by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association. Earlier in the weekend, Saddler added to his trophy collection when he was named the Greater Cleveland Soccer Coaches Association’s Division III Player of the Year.
“Michael put in 110 percent in every training session. I have never coached a kid who had the work ethic he has,” Elyria Catholic coach Attila Csiszar said. “Every time he walked off the field his shirt was sopping wet with sweat. He never took a play off in a game or in practice.”
After scoring three goals as a sophomore and six as a junior, Saddler had nine goals and seven assists in his senior season. However, Csiszar said Saddler’s contribution to the team could not be measured just in goals and assists.
“He was instrumental in teaching the younger players on the team how to be disciplined,” Csiszar said. “Michael was often quiet and reserved, but he was always a player who got a lot of respect from his teammates.”
Saddler, who is still undecided about his college plans, gave much of the credit for his recent honors to the rest of the Panthers.
“I felt great when I heard I made All-Ohio because I really worked hard this season,” Saddler said. “My coaches and my teammates helped to push me harder every day. Without them I could not have won this award. I feel now like that hard work really paid off.”
With his high school career in the rearview mirror, Saddler is now able to reflect on what he has been a part of the last four years.
“Looking back now it almost seems surreal because I never really thought of myself as being an All-Ohio player,” he said. “It’s always a goal in the back of your mind but not one you really think you’ll achieve. I’ve learned to put pride and hard work into everything I do and not to take anything for granted.”
Saddler’s Elyria Catholic teammate Liam O’Halloran joined Open Door junior Solomon Dutton as second-team selections in Division III.
After helping lead Firelands to a share of the Patriot Athletic Conference title for the first time in school history, senior Nate Yorks earned second-team honors in Division II.
Four area players were named to the Division I All-Ohio second team — Midview senior Silvester Messiah, who set a school record for goals scored this season; Avon Lake senior Alex Voloshen, whose overtime goal in the district final sent the Shoremen to the regionals for the first time since 1998; and juniors Omar Salem from Westlake and Will Sharer from Avon.
On the girls’ side, North Olmsted’s Nicole Dembie and Westlake’s Alexis Carpenter earned All-Ohio second-team honors in Division I. Dembie led the Eagles into the district semifinals with an overtime goal against Avon, while Carpenter had four shutouts in league play to lead the Demons to the Southwestern Conference championship. Penfield resident and Magnificat senior Jaycie Brown was also named to the second team.
Elyria Catholic’s McKenzine Rozanc and Wellington’s Janelle Pitts faced off three times in the district final during their high school careers, and now the senior defenders are together on the Division III All-Ohio second team.