Monday, March 27, 2023

Blue Devils come from behind to beat Panthers

Wyatt Kunevicius scored two goals while teammates Ryan Straub and Jared McCollough each scored one to lead Independence to a 4-3 comeback win over Elyria Catholic on Thursday.

With the win, the Blue Devils improved to 7-0-2 on the year.

Kunevicius’ first goal kept the Blue Devils in the game at halftime as the Panthers built a 2-1 lead.

“Though the Panthers lost two all-Ohio forwards last season, they continued to have a potent attack and good defensive stand,” said Independence coach Ryan MacRaild. “With the score 2-1 in favor of EC at half we had to find a few different looks at goal that we couldn't get in the first half.”

The second half strategy resulted in Kunevicius scoring off a Kevin Mewhinney throw-in that tied the game. Straub then found the back of the net to give the Blue Devils their first lead, 3-2.

“Wyatt Kunevicius scored off of a corner that bounced around in the box (in the first half) and a throw from Kevin Mewhinney,” MacRaild said. “We took the lead with 26 minutes to go on Ryan Straub’s rebounded goal.”

McCollough closed out Independence’s scoring with seven minutes left to play. Sam Belitz assisted on the goal.

Elyria Catholic scored on a penalty kick two minutes later.

“Though EC put a feverish finish on the game, including one PK with about 5 to go, the game was in hand and we finished it out for our seventh win of the season remaining undefeated on the year,” MacRaild said.

Tyler Korecko recorded two saves in the net for Independence.

Independence hosts Kirtland on Tuesday in a match that could decide the winner of the Chagrin Valley Conferenece Valley Division.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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