Monday, September 26, 2022

Lions breakthrough for win over Wickliffe

PEPPER PIKE—Senior midfielder Liv Domozick has the formula for the Orange girls soccer team to start scoring goals.

The Lions failed to score in their first two games—a 3-0 loss to Beachwood and a 4-0 game against Kenston that needs to be completed after it was suspended. So, when Orange hosted Wickliffe Tuesday in a Chagrin Valley Conference crossover game, Domozick knew what it would take.

“I feel like we’re in a bit of a drought sometimes and we have to break that,” she said. “We just need movement, passing the ball, taking a lot of shots and following up everything. Eventually it’s going to have to go in.”

Such was the case against the Blue Devils, as junior Abby Thompson redirected a blocked shot by Domozick to not only score the first goal of the season for the Lions, but also to lead them to their first victory, a hard-fought 1-0 decision played in an intermittent light rain. Orange is now 1-1 on the season, while Wickliffe falls to 1-2.

“It was an awesome game by both teams,” Orange coach Jeffery Mann said. “It was our first win and it was a team win all the way.”

Ironically, the player who knows the formula for scoring sometimes is the biggest reason it doesn’t happen—through no fault of her own. Domozick is a magician with the ball at her feet, often dribbling between several defenders, changing directions while stopping on a dime and then accelerating to open spaces.

It can be so entertaining that Mann said sometimes his players get caught up in watching their teammate rather than moving to open spaces and creating passing lanes.

“She is phenomenal to watch,” Mann said. “Sometimes we all get caught watching her. In the Beachwood game I said, ‘Hey, everyone loves watching Liv, right?’ They all said yeah. So, I said, ‘All right, watch her on the video,’ because I looked up and everyone was watching her footwork.”

While the final score against Wickliffe was tight, the Lions dominated possession and had a huge advantage in shots on goal, 12-5. Orange had a handful of shots that tested Wickliffe keeper Kaylee Lauriel—including a blast by Domozick that hit the upper right corner of the frame and then deflected off Lauriel before the ball was cleared away, and a high shot that Prestyn Malone sent toward the upper left corner of the goal before Lauriel tipped it over the crossbar.

But the Blue Devils never really had a chance to return the favor.

“We had limited options today,” Wickliffe coach Steve Gribovicz said. “It was not what we were game planning for. We had a game plan in place, but with the wet weather and their aggressiveness, they kind of took us out of our game plan and took away our offensive tack. But sometimes that happens in games. It’s only game three of the season, so we have a long way to go.”

The game’s only goal came with 6 minutes, 56 seconds remaining in the first half. Domozick dribbled the ball through the Wickliffe defense before launching a shot that was blocked by a Wickliffe defender. However, the ball deflected right to Thompson, who redirected the ball toward the right corner, well out of the reach of Lauriel.

“It was a shot from Liv that was blasted and ricocheted out and Abby put it right in,” Mann said. “She was in the right place at the right time. Liv and Abby have a really good combination up top.”

While Wickliffe had five shots on goal, none of them really challenged Orange’s goalkeeper combination of Haley Spitz and Lily Regele. The best chance the Blue Devils had to score came with 3:34 to play, when the ball was passed ahead of junior Morgan Gabriel on something of a breakaway. Regele came out of the goal and deflected the ball to her right, and by the time Gabriel got to it, she could only send the ball wide of the goal.

“It was a competitive game,” Gribovicz said. “Orange had a good plan in place; we had our plan in place. They executed a little bit better today than we did. But both teams have a lot to be proud of.”

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