ELYRIA — Despite a slow start, Elyria Catholic had plenty of chances to find the back of the net Saturday afternoon in a Division III sectional final against Wellington.
And even though the Panthers left some opportunities on the field, it’s hard to argue with the result. EC eventually broke through for two goals in a stretch of three minutes of game action, then held on to beat the Dukes, 2-1.
EC (8-7-2) advances to play Columbia on Tuesday at home. Wellington’s season ends at 8-10.
“Our transition has to be quicker; we have to put away the shots that are on the table,” EC coach Attila Csiszar said. “It wasn’t our best performance, but it will come. We have a young team, and we have another game to work on it.”
Each team had early chances, with Wellington’s Mike Dowdell heading a ball off the crossbar in the eighth minute and an EC defender clearing a shot off the goal line in the 12th minute after Panther goalkeeper Marty Conroy had left his line.
EC, meanwhile had near misses in the 17th and 18th minutes, the former when Wellington goalie Jake Miller made a nifty save on a Spencer Fetcko shot. In the latter, Miller initially punched away a Gage Jarvis shot from outside the 18-yard box – but right to EC’s Liam O’Halloran, waiting on the back door. Miller recovered, though, to smother O’Halloran’s rebound attempt.
The Dukes broke the tie in the 29th minute. Dowdell pressed the Panthers’ back line, and when the ball squirted past an EC defender, he fired on Conroy, who’d come off his line. Conroy saved the first shot, but Wellington’s Ian Lara settled the rebound and scored on an empty net for a 1-0 lead.
“The game could have gone either way; I’m not sure there was a better or worse team today, but one of us had to win,” Wellington coach William Bogan said. “That was indicative of our season; we’ve controlled the ball well, but we’re light on numbers and that hurts us.”
That depth was put to the test in the 33rd minute, when the Dukes’ Joe Provoznik was injured away from the play and lay motionless on the field for nearly 20 minutes. LifeCare was called and took Provoznik off the field on a stretcher and to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. Provoznik, Bogan said, wanted to play despite back pain from which he’s often suffered.
The Panthers, meanwhile, found their footing after the delay and swung the game in just a few minutes. In the 39th minute, Luke Janosik earned the Panthers a free kick about 30 yards from goal. Jeremy Kelling expertly lofted the ball just over the Wellington defense, allowing Fetcko to head the ball past Miller to tie the game.
And in the 42nd minute, Kelling got things started again, with a corner to the back post that Tony Sanabria headed back into the danger area. Ryan Medves beat Miller for the eventual game-winner.
“It was just a matter of getting some urgency, which we did in that (goal-scoring) stretch,” said Kelling, who typically takes all of EC’s set pieces. “(On the free kick) Wellington was playing forward, so I tried to drop it behind them.”
Contact Joel Hammond at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Division III Rocky River District
Elyria Catholic 2, Wellington 1
GOALS: (W) Ian Lara (29th); (EC) Spencer Fetcko (39th) Ryan Medves (42nd).
ASSISTS: (W) Mike Dowdell; (EC) Jeremy Kelling 2.
SHOTS: Wellington 9, Elyria Catholic 16.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Wellington 8, Elyria Catholic 10.
SAVES: (W) Jake Miller 8; (EC) Marty Conroy 7.
CORNER KICKS: Wellington 0, Elyria Catholic 1.
GOAL KICKS: Wellington 11, Elyria Catholic 8.
OFFSIDE: Wellington 1, Elyria Catholic 4.
FOULS: Wellington 6, Elyria Catholic 13.