After a short delay for thunder during warmups the visiting Avon Lake boys soccer team defeated North Royalton 3-1.
It was senior night for the Bears as 7 seniors and their parents were recognized prior to the game. Unfortunately for North Royalton, Avon Lake senior Edison Lemanowicz decided to put a damper on the festivities.
Less than two minutes into the match junior Drew DelGiudice picked up an errant Bears pass in their half and then quickly played Lemanowicz. He let the ball roll past on his right and kept his body in between the ball and his marker before firing a laser from the top of the box past the keeper to take the early lead.
Less than 5 minutes later Lemanowicz would be the distributor, after he got the ball just past midfield and switched a ball to junior Spencer Chippi on the left. Chippi received in the box, took a touch and then looked to have buried his shot in the right side of the net before a recovering Bears defender deflected it in, making it a 2-0 game.
In the 13th minute Avon Lake continued to put North Royalton under pressure, again off a Lemanowicz connection with Chippi. This time Chippi dribbled into the box and played a centering ball to DelGiudice, but he could not connect cleanly and his effort spun back to Chippi, who had continued running and was in an offsides position.
Lemanowicz, always dangerous but especially so this evening, then found DelGiudice in the 15th minute with a ball that put him one on one with the North Royalton goalie, but his shot was well saved to preserve the margin.
Sophomore Liam Reutter served a nice corner kick in the 22nd minute that was deflected at the near post and made it to senior Andrew Jacobson but his header sailed over.
A minute later North Royalton had a good look at goal after a Bears corner kick was held in and then a shot was taken from the top of the 18 that curved right to left toward the top left corner but tailed away for a goal kick.
In the 27th minute the Shoremen looked certain to score again after a beautiful first time pass from Reutter got Lemanowicz breaking in on goal, but just as he was about to enter the box he was barreled into by a Bears defender to earn a free kick. Senior Joey Caputo took the kick, but his driven shot barely missed to the right.
Ten minutes later Lemanowicz was again taken down just outside the North Royalton box and this time he took the ensuing kick. His first attempt was blasted into the wall and then he hit a follow up off the rebound that the goalie was able to collect.
The halftime score stayed at 2-0, with the Shoremen in control.
The Bears regrouped at halftime and started to find the game a bit more in the second half. In the 48th minute they found space in the middle of the field and time to connect some passes and eventually rip a 25 yard shot that flew wide to the right of goal.
In the 57th minute North Royalton pulled one back after a looping ball that was volleyed backwards from the top of the Shoremen box beat senior Dino Pietromica and hit the crossbar and bounced down, over the line from the vantage point of the sideline referee, to make it 2-1.
A minute later junior Danny Lambert beat the North Royalton goalie to a ball at the edge of the box and played his own looping shot toward net, only for a recovering Bears defender to bike it off the line to keep it 2-1.
Then in the 66th minute Jacobson again got his head on a ball in the box off a free kick from Caputo but it again sailed over the bar.
There was a scary moment in the 68th minute when Lambert, sprinting hard to get to a bouncing ball headed into the Bears’ 18, collided with their goalie and both went down hard. Lambert earned a yellow card on the play but fortunately no one was seriously hurt.
The Shoremen put the game to bed in the 71st minute as a long clearance from senior Michael Mandel got the North Royalton keeper to come off his line to corral it, but Lemanowicz beat him and his defender before poking it over the keeper and into the center of the goal, making it 3-1.
“That is a very good team that we beat tonight,” said head coach Pete Klepek. “For us to come to their place on their senior night and take control of the match early was huge. This was a playoff atmosphere and we rose to the challenge.”
Lemanowicz’s two goals give him a team-leading 14 goals to go along with 3 assists on the season. DelGiudice now has a team-leading 8 assists and Mandel’s assist was his first of the year. Chippi’s goal was his second.
With the victory the Shoremen improve to 11-2-1 on the season. The JV boys got out to an early lead off corner kick goals by freshman Andy Neipp and junior Ryan Smith but North Royalton’s JVA team was able to come back and capture a 2-2 tie. JV moves to 9-1-4 on the year.
Wednesday is the last conference match away at Midview, games at 5 and 7.