Published: Friday, September 7, 2007
The unbeaten Cardinals had six different scorers against Canfield.
By DOUG CHAPIN
STRUTHERS With five injured starters out of the lineup, the Mooney High boys soccer team relied on team balance Thursday against Canfield.
Six different players scored in Mooney's 7-2 triumph at James J. Simon Sr. Soccer Park.
The visiting Cardinals scored first, about three minutes into the game, as David Kanotz headed in a corner kick by John Kanotz at the 36:44 mark.
But Mooney bounced back, scoring the next six goals, including a three-goal outburst over a 10-minute period midway through the second half.
"I have to give credit to our defense," said Larry Lencyk, Mooney's first-year head coach. "Three of our defenders tonight are not regular starters.
"They started a little slowly, then, when they started to control the game from the back, the whole team began to step up," Lencyk said. "We're starting to move the ball better, seven goals is the most we've had this season, against a pretty good team."
Mooney (4-0) got the equalizer with 28:56 left in the first half as Matt McWilson pounced on a Canfield miscue after a long ball from Mooney defender Chris Felker.
In alone against Canfield keeper Eric Clayton, McWilson slotted the ball home to tie the game.
Took lead for keeps
At the 20:26 mark, McBride's throw-in into the penalty area was headed in by James Simon and Mooney had the lead for good.
The home team kept the pressure on and Clayton came up with a big save at the 17:00 mark, stopping Scott Blasko from right in front off a corner kick by Felker.
When Clayton came off his line against Joe Merlo a little more than three minutes later, it looked like Merlo's shot would roll in, but Canfield defender Nate Merhaut came in from nowhere to prevent the goal.
Canfield (2-2-1) went into the half down just 2-1.
But 16 seconds into the second half, McWilson took a good pass from Tom McBride and drilled the ball home for a 3-1 lead.
Canfield misses opportunity
Canfield's Will Ferrando almost scored at the 37:07 mark when his header off a corner kick hit the post. The visitors kept up the pressure for the next few minutes but could not finish.
Clayton came out of the penalty area to make a good tackle stopping a McWilson breakaway, then the ensuing throw-in by Rob Fox went all the way across the penalty area with no Mooney player able to knock it home.
Merlo and McBride worked a good combination which resulted in another corner for Mooney.
When McBride's corner kick went through the area, Fox was there on the backside to pound in a shot from 15 yards out, making it 4-1 with 28:11 remaining.
Merlo added a goal on an assist from Simon at the 21:07 mark, then Eric Martinez tallied on an assist by Thomas Beck to make it 6-1 with 17:58 to play.
Thirty-six seconds later, Canfield's Griffin Todd scored from distance, and Mooney's McBride closed out the scoring at 3:59 with Felker recording the assist.
Canfield coach Phil Simone said his team is struggling five games into the season.
"We played extremely well in the preseason, had a couple of key injuries and we have not been able to find ourselves," Simone said. "There are areas to improve, and we can improve.
"Luckily it's the beginning of the season so we still have a chance for a successful season," Simone said. "Tonight we moved some people around trying to find the right chemistry. But we are still looking."
Lencyk said his Cardinals, rated sixth in Division II in the initial state soccer coaches' poll, have made progress through their first four games.
"We hope to progress every game we play and through the first four games we've been doing that," Lencyk said. "We've got the brutal part of our schedule coming up, but that's how we want it to prepare us for the tournament.
"We are a fairly young team, we start just three seniors and the rest are juniors and sophomores," Lencyk said.
Cardinal Mooney, a regional tournament qualifier each of the last six seasons, already has beaten Bay Village, rated eighth in Division II.
Looming on the schedule are home games against Lakewood St. Edward, the top-rated team in Division I, on Sept. 19, and against Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, top-rated in Division II, on Sept. 27.