The Press Newspaper
Eastwood’s boys’ soccer team meets Northern Buckeye Conference rival Woodmore for the second time this season on Oct. 4, but by then it might be too late.
The Eagles and Wildcats met on Sept. 13 at Eastwood and the result was a 2-2 tie. Eastwood coach Frank Schemenauer said Woodmore, the defending NBC champion, will be difficult to catch for the conference title if it keeps up its current pace.
“We have to win out in the league and somebody has to give Woodmore a loss or a tie, or they’re going to get past us in points,” Schemenauer said. “Our goals are to stay in position to get a piece of the league title if somebody gives Woodmore a bit of an upset. We also want to focus on how we can make the deepest run possible in the postseason.”
The Eagles, the 2010 Suburban Lakes League champion, headed into Thursday’s home match against Lake with a 5-1-3 record (2-0-3 NBC). Last year’s Eastwood squad finished 13-4-2 and took second in the NBC and lost to Bowling Green, 2-1, in the Division II district semifinals.
Schemenauer said this year’s squad is “coming together pretty good,” but admitted the Eagles are still somewhat offensively challenged. They already have 0-0 ties against conference rivals Lake and Genoa.
“We play a good possession game and we’ve got a low goals-against average (0.89),” Schemenauer said. “We’re mainly a possession team. We don’t put up a lot of goals and that hurt us in the two ties when we weren’t able to score. We have a senior keeper (Randy Caris) who is doing a really good job for us. Derek Snowden (senior defender) has really good speed and keeps the pressure off of our keeper. Other players have stepped up and contributed as well.
“We took our destiny out of our own hands by tying early in the year. That’s where we’re going to need a little help from somebody to tie or beat Woodmore.”
Snowden, a captain and a first-team All-NBC and honorable mention all-district selection last year, anchors the Eagles’ defense.
“He has makeup speed where he can catch up to anybody who gets past our last line of defense,” Schemenauer said. “He can turn it upfield and start us back into our attack.”
Junior Joey Salinas, a left side defender, is a three-year letterman and earned second-team All-NBC honors last season.
“He has really good skills,” Schemenauer said. “He’s been a big part of keeping our defense strong this year.”
Caris, in his second year as a starter, had 15 saves through Eastwood’s first nine matches.
“We don’t give out saves (statistically) easy. It has to be a quality save,” Schemenauer said. “Caris is just a physical keeper and he’s improved his positioning skills and he’s reading the game much better. And, he has good reflexes.”
Senior forward Chris Baker leads the team with seven goals and has added three assists.
“He’s an intense player who gives a really good effort, and he’s really skilled with the ball,” Schemenauer said. “He’s got great individual skill and he’s improving his team play as the season goes along.”
Eastwood’s other top players are senior forward Kevin Sweeney, senior midfielders Ben Volschow and Jordan Luther, senior defender Joel Black and junior forward Chris Mercher, who has three goals.
Sweeney, who earned second-team All-NBC honors a year ago, has three goals and three assists.
“He really helps stretch the defense and keep them honest,” Schemenauer said. “He has good skills and a powerful shot.”
The coach added that Volschow, Black and Luther have been able to fill their roles.
“Ben’s been a solid contributor in the midfield for us,” Schemenauer said. “Joel Black has good speed and is improving all the time, and Jordan has been a solid player for us this year. He’s stepped up and assumed responsibilites to help our style of play.”
Schemenauer said the Eagles will have to step up their game down the stretch.
“We have to continue to jell as a team,” he said. “Everybody has to work together better as we face better competition.”