AVON LAKE — St. Edward walked out of Avon Lake’s Memorial Stadium with a hard-fought 5-4 win.
The Shoremen walked away with something almost as important — respect.
The upstart Shoremen, playing their first season as a full varsity program, took the lead in the first minute of the game on a goal from Cody Wootton. Avon Lake (4-7) held down an Eagles offense that had scored 49 goals in its last three games until St. Edward’s Jack Dowling scored the winner with 7:19 remaining in the game.
“We though this game was going to be a lot easier than it turned out to be,” said Dowling, who scored four of the five goals. “After they scored the first goal we knew we were in for a game, but my teammates were able to buckle down in the fourth quarter and get the job done.”
Dowling’s first two goals, both of which came in man-up situations, gave St. Edward (8-4) a 2-1 lead after a quarter. Avon Lake attack Justin Rinaldi scored midway through the second period to tie the game at 2. Then it was up to Avon Lake goalkeeper Turner Keane and the defense to keep the Shoremen in the game.
Avon Lake’s zone frustrated St. Edward all night and Keane used every part of his crosse and body to keep the ball out of the back of the net.
“You look at Turner and defender Ian Mack and they are two incredible athletes and incredible leaders,” Avon Lake coach Kevin Walz said. “The way they played tonight was just amazing and the younger guys are following their leading and coming along for the ride. We know we have a tough time scoring goals so we have really committed to defense.”
Unlike the high-flying Eagles, Avon Lake has only scored in double digits twice this season, in wins over Brunswick and Holy Name.
In the third quarter it was Connor Schraff and Trent Glasser who combined to spark the Shoremen offense. Schraff scored two off assists from Glasser.
The first came off of a pass from behind the goal and Schraff fired a shot from the top of the box past goalkeeper Mike Fox. Schraff’s second goal came in a man-up situation and tied the game at 4 with 3:11 to play in the third quarter.
“We came into this and just wanted to play our game and it worked out for us,” Keane said. “Against a team like Ed’s you expect to get blown out, but we were in it until the final minute. Our defense is really playing well together and we’re able to confuse some teams with the way we play.”
St. Edward coach Dave Giorgis credited Avon Lake’s defense.
“We scrimmaged them early in the year and we knew they played great defense and they came out in that zone today and we just really didn’t answer the bell,” he said. “It was a well-conceived scheme and their goalkeeper played a tremendous game. There are only three great teams in this area: St. Ignatius, Solon and Hudson. This game shows that everybody else is more evenly matched than most people think.”
Walz said this was one of the best games the Shoremen have played and he hopes it will send a message to Avon Lake’s remaining opponents.
“I told the team in the locker room that people are going to wake up in the morning, see this score and wonder what’s going on,” Walz said. “And our future opponents are going to wonder what kind of team they are going to face. I like putting fear into teams.
“This is the team we want to be. We don’t want to be a pushover. We don’t want teams to be excited to play us.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
St. Edward 5, Avon Lake 4
St. Edward 2 1 1 1 — 5
Avon Lake 1 1 2 0 — 4
Goals: (St. E) Dowling 4, Hildebrandt; (AL) Schraff 2, Rinaldi, Wootton
Assists: (St. E) Schroeder 2, O’Dougherty; (AL) Glasser 2, Schraff
Goalkeepers: (St. E) Fox 8 saves; (AL) Keane 15 saves
Man-up situations: St. Edward 2-6; Avon Lake 1-6