OBERLIN — Having been summarily run out of the midfield and trailing 1-0 after 40 minutes, Elyria Catholic’ soccer team convened a focus group about possible solutions at halftime Saturday night.
With Jeff Ruiz and Jeremy Kelling leading the effort to recapture this important piece of ground, the Panthers bounced back for a 3-1 non-conference victory over previously unbeaten Oberlin.
Senior forward Liam O’Halloran scored two goals and midfielder Kelling, also a senior, added the insurance goal in the 80th and final minute.
It was his second of the young season.
“I saw the outside was open,” Kelling said.
“I saw Jeff (Ruiz) got the ball, I called for it and he played a beautiful ball to me. I give all the credit to Jeff there. I was able to just tap it past the goalie.”
Oberlin (3-1) got its goal from senior Sam Levine, with an assist by Alden DeBouter, in the 19th minute.
The Phoenix held the lead for 34 minutes, until O’Halloran scored 13 minutes into the second half.
“The first goal, we did a nice give-and-go, me, Jeremy and Gage (Jarvis),” O’Halloran said. “It just went right to me and I poked it past the keeper.”
The swift O’Halloran scored the eventual winner — his fourth goal of the season — in the 75th minute after a long run down the left flank.
“The second goal was just a classic breakaway,” he said. “I had a one-on-one and put it away.”
EC got a strong performance from its defenders and junior goalkeeper James Rickard. Rickard praised the work of the defenders in front of him, especially senior Spencer Fetcko.
“Spencer’s a heck of a kid, he’s really amazing,” Rickard said. “He knows what to do in pressure situations. The defenders and I communicate very well. Communication is the whole game. If you’re not talking, it’s not going to go well for you guys.”
Jason Kempton, filling in for Panthers coach Attila Csiszar, who could not attend, said it was a good win for EC (2-0) against a strong Oberlin team.
“They’re one of the better teams I’ve seen,” Kempton said. “Their keeper (sophomore Ethan Carmichael) is outstanding. I definitely give kudos to them, they never gave up and neither did our boys. It was a heck of a game against a tough 3-0 team.”
Oberlin coach Michael Schmid said the game turned on EC’s strong second-half start.
“They came out strong and I think we got a little tentative,” Schmid said. “We looked a little unorganized in the back and we knew that No. 28 (O’Halloran) was fast. I told our kids to watch out for him. Unfortunately, he got through somehow.”
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Elyria Catholic 3, Oberlin 1
GOALS: (EC) Liam O’Halloran 2 (53rd, 75th minutes), Jeremy Kelling (80th); (O) Sam Levine (19th).
ASSISTS: (EC) Jeff Ruiz; (O) Alden DeBouter.
SAVES: (EC) James Rickard 6; (O) Ethan Carmichael 7.
SHOTS: Elyria Catholic 12, Oberlin 11.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Elyria Catholic 8, Oberlin 5.
CORNER KICKS: Elyria Catholic 5, Oberlin 3.
GOAL KICKS: Elyria Catholic 5, Oberlin 4.
OFFSIDE: Elyria Catholic 2.
HANDBALLS: Oberlin 2.
FOULS: Elyria Catholic 14, Oberlin 14.
CARDS: (O) Thomas Protzman, yellow (38th).
HALFTIME SCORE: Oberlin, 1-0.