EATON TWP. — It only took Midview seven minutes to set the tone for the 2014 season.
It was at that point of Saturday’s 3-1 non-conference win over Elyria when Middies junior midfielder Steven Grabo took advantage of a miscue in the Pioneers defensive end to score the first goal of the season and give his team an early lead and boost of confidence.
In the 14th minute, midfielder Jason Grau headed home a Nikolas Kucera corner kick and gave the Middies a 2-0 lead.
“After all the hard work we put in in the offseason, this feels great,” said Grau, one of three senior captains for Midview.
“We’ve been working hard, staying focused and really taking things seriously this year. We knew our entire season could reflect off of how we came out in this game, so I can’t really tell you how big this game is for our team.”
It was the first win for coach Matt Fox at Midview. Fox took over the Middies last spring after spending eight years in the same position at Oberlin.
On the opposite bench, first-year Elyria coach Brett Heighberger knew the result might have been different if his team could have avoided that one early mistake.
“We came out strong then that one mix-up unfortunately put us in a situation where we had our backs against the wall,”
Heighberger said. “If we had played that a little different, I think we would have been more competitive tonight.”
With 12 seniors on his roster, Heighberger is trying to change the culture after what has been a couple of difficult seasons for the Pioneers.
“The guys that have been around here for awhile are working hard to change the way they think about the game,” he said. “If we build ourselves up mentally, we won’t hang our heads when we allow an early goal. I like the way we played the second half. We controlled the possession and got the offense working. Take nothing away from Midview, they played a great match tonight, but in a way I feel like we just ran out of time tonight.”
Midview was outshot by Elyria by a margin of 10-6, but half of the Middies’ shots found the back of the net against Pioneers freshman goalkeeper Sabastian DelCorral. The Middies took a 3-0 lead in the 52nd minute when Simon Liszeski scored off an assist from Alex Amsden.
Elyria scored its only goal in the 60th minute as junior Josh Lewis scored an unassisted goal after he dribbled through the Midview defense to create his own shot from 12 yards out.
Midview goalkeeper Nicholas Chambers, another of the Middies captains, made nine saves, including six in the second half.
“I know Josh Lewis and I know T.J. (Elyria forward T.J. Cake) and I know they are both really good players, so I had to be on my toes all night,” Chambers said. “There wasn’t a time until the final 20 seconds that I wasn’t nervous.”
Chambers feels the opening win means more than just a 1-0 start for the Midview team.
“All week we talked about how crucial this game was,” he said. “It’s going to have a lasting effect on the entire season. This dictates how we’re going to play going forward. It really feels fantastic right now to get this one.”
The only cause for concern for the Middies came in the 67th minute when junior Jacob Dyer left the game after been helped off the field with a left leg injury.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Midview 3, Elyria 1
GOALS: (E) Lewis (60th minute), (M) Grabo (7th minute), Grau (14th minute), Liszeski (52nd minute).
ASSISTS: (M) Hughes, Kucera, Amsden.
SAVES: (E) DelCorral 3. (M) Chambers 9.
CORNER KICKS: Elyria 4, Midview 5.
FOULS: Elyria 5, Midview 7.
OFFSIDES: Elyria 1.
HALF: Midview 2-0.