ROCKY RIVER, Ohio -- Pass by pass -- boot to boot and playing all the right angles with crisp timing, the Pirates cobbled together a dominant 80 minutes of soccer on Wednesday evening. Rocky River strung together lengthy, multi-pass attacks throughout the match en route to downing Elyria Catholic, 4-0.
The Maroon & White remained unbeaten with the Great Lakes Conference victory on what was a warm early-fall evening at Rocky River Stadium. The fourth-ranked (DII Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association) Pirates outshot the Panthers, 30-4, pressuring the visitors into nine corners along the way.
With the win, Rocky River (6-0-2, 4-0-1 GLC) is now 6-0 against EC since the Pirates and Panthers became conference foes in 2015. Wednesday's victory came against a Panther team that went into the match allowing just 0.89 goals per contest.
River's first goal was landed by senior Keira Vesy, who nodded home a tremendous corner kick from Addie Harris. That 10th-minute opportunity was set up by a near miss by Taylor Byall, a shot which was defected over the end line by Panthers goalkeeper Cameron Resor.
Resor was busy in the opening half, facing 15 Rocky River shots -- nine on frame -- in a 40-minute period controlled throughout by the home side. Byall and sophomore midfielder Cara McKenna were instrumental in the Maroon & White piling up possession time and quality looks at the nylon behind Resor.
The match remained 1-0 until the final minute of the first half when sophomore Ava Blair took a long cross from an unidentified teammate on the left flank and belted a 25-yard shot Resor could only momentarily deflect. The momentum of Blair's shot carried, with sufficient English, over the goal line.
In the second half, the Pirates got endgame goals from Ava Patti (53rd minute) and Mackenzie Russell (78th).
With its win over Elyria Catholic (7-2-1, 2-2-1), Rocky River is now 4-0-1 at home this season. Dating to last season, the Pirates are 8-0-1 over their last nine matches on Detroit Road.
Their home field, their scoreboard, and -- on Wednesday against the Panthers -- their soccer ball. All night.
CANNON FIRE ...
FIRST WITH A BURST: Ava Blair's goal marked the first of her career. Twelve Pirates have now scored a goal this season. Ava Patti's six lead the team. ... Addie Harris' assist on the Vesy goal marked the 10th helper of her career. Harris has scored 11 goals over two-and-a-half seasons. ... Freshman Maeve Kelly logged an assist on Patti's goal; it was the first of her career.
BAGEL SHOP: Senior goalkeeper Sabrina Rick made three saves Wednesday night. The shutout marked River's third in a row and the team's sixth this fall. The contest marked the 18th shutout of Rick's career.
by Skip Snow
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