On a windy night in Avon Lake the Shoremen boys soccer team took care of business, defeating visiting Normandy 3-2 on Saturday night. It looked like the Shoremen would cruise to a comfortable victory, but a late push from the Invaders made it close at the end.
It was actually Normandy who earned the first good chance of the match in the 6th minute, as they earned a free kick in the Avon Lake half, and played a ball that cleared the defense but could not be headed on net.
But the Shoremen struck first in the 12th minute as junior captain Drew Del Giudice hit a lovely first time volley pass that split the Normandy center backs and allowed senior Edison Lemanowicz to run in, take a couple of dribbles and power a shot to the right side of the net.
Almost ten minutes later Avon Lake almost added another off a DelGiudice free kick that was flicked from the head of junior Danny Lambert to the head of senior captain Andrew Jacobson, but his attempt flew just over the cross bar.
In the 24th minute the Shoremen missed a golden opportunity to increase their lead after Lemanowicz played an early through ball to Lambert who surged forward and went by the keeper, but his shot was cleared off the line by a retreating defender. Senior Cam Salco recovered the ball and followed up with a low shot to the near post that missed to the right.
Four minutes later the Shoremen continued their barrage, as senior Kristof Nieschwitz played Lambert on the right, and he used his speed to beat his defender and then dribble around the keeper, but his shot from a tight angle tailed away out of bounds.
Lambert’s success getting behind the Normandy defense would finally pay off in the 36th minute after he took the ball to the end line and centered a pass that found a sliding Salco at the back post to deposit it in the net and make it 2-0.
In the seconds before halftime Normandy almost pulled one back as the Shoremen defense let a ball bounce around in their box until it was met by an Invader attacker, but fortunately his shot was high and through the football uprights.
The second half began with more Shoremen attacks. In the 41st minute Lemanowicz ran onto a long ball that had forced the keeper to come out and challenge, and was barely able to volley it before being slammed into by the physical goalie. It looked goal bound on its own, but the strong wind carried it into the top right corner of the post and cross bar, where it clanged off and went in off a recovering Invader defender to make it 3-0.
The early part of the second half was dominated by Avon Lake as it controlled possession and generated chances, while limiting Normandy and their preferred kick and run strategy. In the 48th minute junior Derek Stepak picked up a ball that had been passed around the perimeter of the Normandy final third and unleashed a laser from 30 yards out that did not miss by much.
However Normandy would strike back against the run of play shortly thereafter. In the 51st minute it appeared that an Invader intentionally handled the soccer ball in his own box for what should have been a penalty kick, but the referee, who had been berated constantly by the Normandy coaching staff, chose to swallow his whistle. The ensuing long ball beat the Shoremen back line and was run on to by Normandy’s forward, who dinked it over onrushing freshman goalie Zach Glesius to make it 3-1.
In the 64th minute the Shoremen nearly righted the ship as another Lambert cross was almost latched on to by Lemanowicz, and then shortly after senior Michael Mandel had his attempt from deep barely miss as well.
Then in the 73rd minute Lemanowicz used creative footwork to beat two Normandy defenders and slid a pass to Sophomore Liam Reutter on the left. Reutter dribbled it to the near post and centered it, but his cross went right in front of net and then was not cleared and rolled across the goal mouth again, but no one could turn it home.
3-1 seemed like it would be the final score as Avon Lake simply could not find another goal, but the Invaders kept playing and made it interesting. After earning a free kick in Shoremen half, another questionable refereeing decision led to a second Normandy goal.
The free kick sailed over the Shoremen and Invader players contesting it, not appearing to touch anyone. However the referee decided to give a corner kick, despite the fact that the Normandy coach even said it didn’t touch. On the ensuing corner an Invader got free to knock it home and make it 3-2 with under 2 minutes to play.
Normandy continued to make a last gasp effort to gain the equalizer but Avon Lake was up to the task and saw the victory out with a final score of 3-2. With the victory the Shoremen improve to 5-2-0 on the year.
“I was very pleased with out level of play because we were in control pretty much the whole game,” said head coach Pete Klepek. “Credit to Normandy for staying in it mentally, and for taking their chances when they had them. We have to be a bit more efficient with our chances but I love that we are generating so many dangerous opportunities.”
In the early game Avon Lake JV cruised to a tidy 11-0 win. Scoring for the first time in their high school careers were sophomore captain Sean Graney, sophomore Aiden Cooper (2), and freshmen Aneil Jantz and Owen Wiley. Also tallying for the Shoremen were sophomore Tyler Johnson (3), Zach Ramsey (2) and freshman Andy Neipp.
Both teams are back in action on Monday away at Elyria, games at 5 and 7pm.
Content submitted to NEOSI by Avon Lake VNN Network.