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"Predictable' Eagles toppled by Tigers in opener
"Predictable' Eagles toppled by Tigers in openerStory by Jim Horvath
Photos by Larry Bennet

After going through just its third losing season in program history, the North Olmsted boys soccer team was looking to get the 2012 season off on the right foot.

Monday night’s season home opener, however, fell well short of the end result the Eagles had in mind.

Twinsburg, a perennial power on the east side, made its long trip to the Westshore worthwhile with a convincing 5-0- win over North Olmsted. The Tigers scored three goals in the first half in a 10-minute span to take control early in their season opener.

“We were very predictable when we had the ball,” said North Olmsted head coach Chris Marsh, whose team had difficulty possessing the ball consistently against an aggressive Twinsburg defense.

“For example, we looked to the same guy time after time after time, Marsh said. “If the ball swung to our right back, we constantly looked to our left forward. The one or two times when we all of a sudden looked to our right forward and put the ball in the space behind them, all heck broke loose.

“Then all of a sudden, we were dangerous. It’s the old saying: If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to keep on getting what you’ve always got. Twinsburg figured out what we were trying to do and took that away tonight,” he added.

After the first few minutes of play, Twinsburg began to bring extra players up to put pressure on the Eagles in the back third. A nice defensive play by senior defender M.J. Akpo-Asambe in the 10th minute prevented a point-blank attempt, and a save by senior keeper Alec DeAnna on a shot from 10 yards out in the 13th minute kept the Tigers off the board.

North Olmsted managed to come back and apply some pressure of its own, but failed to capitalize on a pair of corners and a close-range shot off the foot of Stefan Spanu in the 15th minute. That’s when the game began to take a turn for the worst for the Black and Orange.

With 22:27 left in the first half, Twinsburg put together a well-executed play when Cory Weddington lofted a crossing pass to his right. To the left of DeAnna was Jonathon Bogdany, who headed the ball over the Eagle senior’s outstretched arms for a 1-0 Tiger lead.

Twinsburg next cashed in on a throw in from about 15 yards out. The ball went unstopped into the goal crease where senior Benjamin Bard knocked it in with 14:29 left. Just over two minutes later, Chase Betenson scored an unassisted goal when he picked off an erant Eagle pass in he back and beat DeAnna one-on-one for a 3-0 Twinsburg lead.

Even though his team had dodged some bullets to that point, Marsh said he felt his team could get back into the game. But some missed opportunities in the first half made a possible comeback tougher.

“We got to the end line twice in the first half and were able to turn the corner and put balls across,” Marsh said. “But we just blindly put them there. I mean, we got the the end line easily, but we didn’t take the time to find the guy in the white shirt and play the ball to them.”

“When you get around the back of the defense that easy, pick somebody out,” he said. “It’s one thing if you have somebody draped all over you, but we beat the guy. Now you have all day to find somebody, but we just sent the ball where we had nobody,” he said.

“Some of it is lack of experience, some of it maybe first-game jitters. Hopefully we’ll get past those things,” he added.

In the second half, North Olmsted had a golden opportunity to get back into the game in the 43rd minute when senior co-captain J.J. Ball was tripped in the box. His penalty kick, however, missed wide right, and the Tigers didn’t take long to capitalize.

In the 46th minute, Twinsburg made it 4-0 when Alvin Kazachkov knocked one in off an assist from Jake Krieger, his second of the night. The scoring concluded when Betenson scored on a penalty kick after getting tripped in the box with 4:50 left in the game.

Meanwhile, the Tiger defense kept the pressure up, even as substitutes made their way into the game

“That’s what Twinsburg does,” Marsh said. “They try to get as many players back behind the ball as possible. They’ll give you the first 25 yards of the field, and they’ll entice you to dribble out. You then have two options: You can hammer the ball over their entire defense, or you can try and pick people out.

“When you do that, they have 10 players guarding seven. Then they close the passing lanes and try to pick it off. You have to do a better job of being proficient with your pass. You can’t miss by seven yards or they’ll be right there to take it,” he said.

The shutout went to Twinsburg’s senior keeper, Frank Candau, who registered six saves. DeAnna had a pair of saves for the Eagles.


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