Thursday, September 16, 2021

Independence edges Elyria Catholic

Top-seeded Independence struggled to pull out a 2-1 win over No. 8 Elyria Catholic in a Division III sectional championship game on Saturday.

The Blue Devils scored both goals in the second half to remain undefeated and keep alive their season.

“I think we played good enough to win but we didn’t play our best,” said Independence head coach Ryan MacRaild. “We kind of got into a kicking match when we should have just been playing soccer all along. We got out of our game a little bit, which made it closer than it should have been. I’m not taking anything away from them, they came out for a battle and it worked out in our favor.”

Independence defeated Elyria Catholic, 2-0, back on Sept. 28, so MacRaild knew the Panthers would provide a challenge, despite their No. 8 seed.

“They had a little time to sort of plan a little better for us,” MacRaild said. “They came out with a different look by dropping their best player back to sweeper. He’s lightning fast and covered a lot of space, which really locked down their defense against us.”

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half and held that advantage at the break.

“I told the boys it wasn’t going to stay that way,” MacRaild said. “We just had to chip away and get back to playing decent soccer. It got a little physical, and we knew it would because it was physical the first time we played them and they were playing for their lives.”

That physical style of play cost the Panthers in the second half as one foul set up a Sam Belitz penalty kick that tied the game at 1-1.

“Sam was fouled in the box on an obstruction call,” MacRaild said. “The kid was pushing Sam off of the ball.”

Sophomore Christian Streibel later drilled the decisive goal.

“He actually hit one that went under the goalkeeper,” MacRaild said. “It kind of dipped down and went under him. For a sophomore to hit a shot like that to take the lead in a sectional final is pretty awesome.”

With the win, the Blue Devils improved to 17-0 on the year and will host No. 4 Beachwood in a district semifinal on Oct. 24 at 7:00 p.m.

The Blue Devils defeated Beachwood in the regular season, 6-1.

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, 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.

Related Articles

Stay Connected

468FansLike
2,452FollowersFollow
364SubscribersSubscribe

Latest Articles

00:01:05

Hawken wins thriller at Chagrin Falls

Hawken earned a thrilling 3-2 win at Chagrin Falls on Tuesday in a battle for second place in the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division.

Kirtland knocks off Cardinal in first-place showdown

Kirtland defeated visiting Cardinal 3-1 on Monday in a battle for first place in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.

Hawken, Perry win postseason tournament titles

Hawken and Perry added some new hardware to their trophy cases following strong performances at the Chagrin Valley Conference postseason tournament at Punderson Golf Course on Monday.

Kirtland’s Erika Zschuppe commits to Florida Gulf Coast University

Kirtland senior Erika Zschuppe locked in her college choice over the weekend when she announced her commitment to continue her education and soccer career at Florida Gulf Coast University.
02:38:14

Last-second field goal leads Independence to win over rival

Casey McGhee booted a 22-yard field goal as time expired to lead Independence to a 30-28 win at rival Cuyahoga Heights on Friday.