Story by John Blake
Photos and video by Larry Bennet
Magnificat couldn't have started out its soccer season any better.
The Blue Streaks dominated in every facet of the game Wednesday night as they blanked host Avon, 4-0, in their season debut.
"That was one of the things we talked about before the season started was dominating," said Magnificat head coach Gretchen Micklitsch.
"The way you dominate a soccer game is by possessing the ball and so that was kind of what we talked about. We need to go out every game and dominate by possessing the ball and I think we did a pretty good job of doing that tonight.
"Of course, we had chances and shots too but the most important part is having the ball. I was really impressed with how the girls did," she said.
Senior goalie and co-captain Kaleigh Piscioneri was one of the loneliest girls on the field as her offensive unit possessed the ball and attacked on Avon's side for the majority of the contest. Her counterpart, Eagles' goalie Rachel Grudzien, was certainly busy on her end.
The Blue Streaks pounded out 35 shots on goal and the Avon senior did all she could with a solid effort in front of the net.
Magnificat scored twice in the first half on goals by junior midfielder and co-captain Alyssa Baumbick and senior co-captain and midfielder Sydney Duggan. Its two later goals came from junior forward Catherine Corrigan and junior midfielder Evelyn Lavelle in the second half.
"Playing them the second game of the season, we were a little nervous about it," said Avon head coach Danie Schnaufer. "We seemed to have some slow starts, but they're a really good team and we couldn't figure it out."
The Blue Streaks continued to pass the ball effectively throughout the match and got several players involved.
Baumbick got things started with a 30-yard boot over the head of Grudzien at the 18:41 mark of the first half. Duggan followed it up about 10 minutes later with a similar shot from the middle of the field.
Corrigan, who must have had over 10 shots on goal herself, finally saw one reach the back of the net with 14:38 remaining in the game. Freshman Emily Kaufman offered a nice assist and Corrigan poked it through from about 20 yards out. Lavelle's goal came less than two minutes later to cap off an impressive opening night for Micklitsch's crew.
"One of the things about this team is I have so many players that are good in so many positions," said Micklitsch, adding that she had Corrigan in about three or four different spots.
"I really have to figure out where everybody fits. I have so many different girls who play so many positions well," she said.
But it's that versatility which should pose a good problem to have. The Blue Streaks hope to avenge a state semifinal loss in 2013, but they'll have another challenging schedule to fight through, especially in the next few weeks with games in Toledo and against Medina.
"We've got a bunch of tough games at the end of the season, so hopefully we'll be prepared for playoffs," Micklitsch said.
The Eagles even their record at 1-1 after defeating Avon Lake in the season opener. Schnaufer is aiming for continuous learning and improvement this fall.
"I think that we'll do OK," said the Avon coach. "I think we're still trying to figure things out defensively
"I think if we get things figured out we'll do alright. I don't know if we're gonna have a standout season but last year we did a little better than the year before so we'll see what happens," she said.
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