Saturday, September 30, 2023

Wolverines hold off Pirates in district semifinal

Joey DiLalla and Cole Frate both scored a goal to lead West Geauga to a 2-0 win over Perry in a Division II district semifinal at West Geauga on Wednesday.

With the win, the top-seeded Wolverines advanced to Saturday’s district championship game against No. 3 Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin.

“We knew this would be a difficult game,” West Geauga coach Mario Gerhardt said. “What made it more difficult is that we beat them 2-1 during the regular season. It is not easy to defeat a strong team twice during one season but we did and I am proud of the players.”

West Geauga last played in a district championship game back in 2004.

“It is big for the players,” Gerhardt said of advancing to the title game. “They have worked hard since August 1 and even before that during June and July. It is also big for the program. Winning teams attract players. I just hope we don’t get too many.”

DiLalla’s goal originated from a Dave Beattie corner kick and was assisted by Miguel DelValle, a defender who leaves his position to help in the Wolverines’ offensive restarts.

“The first goal was big, of course,” Gerhardt said. “You could sense a letdown of the Perry players for a few minutes but they regrouped and worked hard trying to get the equalizer.”

Beattie set up Frate’s goal as well.

“The second goal was scored by Cole Frate who took a pass from Dave Beattie and fired perhaps a 30-yard shot over the keeper’s head into the far post side netting,” Gerhardt said. “I find it very exciting that both of our goals were scored by freshmen.”

The Wolverines now get a second chance against NDCL as the Lions defeated the Wolverines in the season opener, 3-2.

“Both the Lions and the Wolverines are better now than they were at the beginning of the season and I consider the game a toss-up,” Gerhardt said. “We will be ready for NDCL as I am sure they will be ready for us.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Mentor High School.

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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