July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

A loss, but also a stepping stone for Black River

ELYRIA — Black River’s club soccer team made history Monday night.

The young and inexperienced Pirates took on Elyria Catholic in their first OHSAA tournament match at Knights of Columbus Field. While they finished a winless season with their ninth loss, they stayed close to the Panthers for a half.

The final score was 6-0 as EC’s Danielle LoParo scored two goals and Brigid Grif­fin put up a goal and two assists. The Pan­thers’ offense was balanced as five differ­ent players scored goals and three players made four assists.

The Panthers earned a 7 p.m. Thursday Division II sectional final date at either Cuyahoga Heights or Independence.

This is the second season of girls soccer for the Pirates, who played a JV schedule last year. They moved into varsity-level competition this year and affiliated with the OHSAA to be eligible for tournament play.

“Even though the score doesn’t reflect it, our girls played with a lot of heart,” said Pirates coach Maria Blakesslee. “We’re a new team, but we were playing as hard as we could trying to keep the score down low. In my mind, we had a great game. It wasn’t a win, but for where we are, it was a win for us.”

Black River got off only two shots, both on target. The first came in the 13th minute when freshman Angie Kazek put a free kick right at EC keeper Marisa Ternes, who made the save routinely. Then three minutes into the second half, senior Jas­min Kellom left-footed a shot at the EC net, which put Ternes to work again.

Also notable was the play of Pirates goalkeeper Leah Sprague, a junior who had never played soccer before last sea­son. Sprague made 17 saves.

“I just learned from coach Maria and some teammates of mine who had played before,” said Sprague, who must have felt as if she were in a shooting gallery as the Panthers cranked off 40 total shots, 21 on goal.

Contact Bob Daniels at (440) 329-7135 or soccer@bobdaniels.info.