A Page -- Aug. 16, 2010

Avon Lake's boys' soccer team not 

afraid to "test the best;" Shoremen 

have three opponents that 

made it to at least regionals in '09

Aug. 16, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


AVON LAKE – In the three years that Dan Ogilvy has been building the program, Avon’s Lake High’s boys’ soccer teams continue to steadily improve, and with another tough schedule, this just could be the year the Shoremen nail down both Southwestern Conference and district championships.

While the Ogilvy-coached Shoremen have been knocking on the SWC throne door for three years and made it all the way to the district championship game two years ago against Amherst, they are still that half step away from achieving great things in pairs or clusters.

Avon Lake (7-7-5, 2-2-3 in 2009) does return All Greater Cleveland Team selections Nick Stephenson and Bryce Stuart, All-SWC picks Alex Strimbu & Joey Villari, and All-County designee Nolan Kovach. Stuart was also all-league and all-county.


“We are excited as we head into the 2010 fall season,” Ogilvy said. “The 2009 season was a learning year for our  Shoremen and now the boys look to build on it as they take on a tough non-conference schedule.”

If their schedule will not allow the Shoremen to attain new heights this year, then perhaps nothing will. Included in that rough non-SWC schedule are Dublin Coffman, Strongsville, Jackson, St. Edward, Sylvania Northview, Hudson, and Mentor.

Among thos opponents, here is how they finished in 2009: State Semifinalist Strongsville, Regional Finalist Jackson, Regional Semifinalist North Olmsted, and District Finalists Dublin Coffman, Hudson, Mentor, St. Edward, Westlake.

While Ogilvy has eight lettermen returning off last year’s squad that was about even with its opponents in a lot of respects, the .500 record and five ties aside, six of those received their first letters last year, meaning the continuity has been getting disrupted the past few years with graduation, causing many to get their first varsity experience as instant starters or regulars straight off the JV team or middle school.

“Those new returning lettermen will be expected to come in and make a difference,” the coach said. “The Shoremen will look to be organized and keep possession through the thirds of the field.”

Other lettermen returning who will be major contributors and possible leaders are John Frie and Alex Yungvirt.

Olmsted Falls High School logo

Falls eying upper tier of SWC, NSCA 

Academic All-American Team Award

Aug. 15, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


OLMSTED FALLS – After having a year in which they are not accustomed to having in the always soccer-tough Southwestern Conference, the Olmsted Falls Bulldogs are optimistic about returning to the upper tier of the boys’ standings here in 2010.

 The Dogs finished 1-6-1 in the SWC, but the league had a lot of ties and several teams in the middle and even near the top were bunched together so the record was not really a reflection of how well they played and what they accomplished through last year’s experiences.


“The entire SWC is loaded with formidable opponents on our schedule,” said James Walchanowicz, now in his fourth season as the Falls coach. “We are in one of the top conferences in the whole area.”

As an example of what the coach threw on the table, the Bulldogs were 5-2-2 outside the SWC in 2009, including the post-season tournament loss, which every team but Gahanna Lincoln experienced last fall. When a league’s seventh-place team with only one win within the league can play .700 ball in independent and tournament matches, it can safely be concluded that it is one of the best conferences in the state.

In addition, the Bulldogs do not take it easy outside the SWC with the schedule. In addition to the likes of Westlake, Amherst, North Olmsted and Brecksville, the Bulldogs are going out of the county line circle to do business with teams the nature of Nordonia, Holy Name, Lakewood and Cleveland Heights.  

“This year’s team is very solid technically; has good chemistry and work rate; is eager to learn; and expects to win,” the coach said. “Our off-season weight program has helped many of the players; they have a good understanding of the game.”

Still, he has a young team that still needs to acquire experience and stay away from injuries. However, this will not be a rebuilding year for the squad as the team has set high expectations.

“We have a quality coaching staff with college playing experience and who care about the kids and program,” Walchanowicz said. “Both of my assistants are good teachers of the game.”

Walchanowicz is in his 15th season of coaching high school soccer. He has produced winners everywhere he has gone. Prior to last season’s reasonably respectful 6-8-3 season, the coach’s teams have compiled a combined 108-85-32 record with a good helping of those wins in Falls.

“The summer schedule was one of the most demanding in the past three years, but will hopefully pay off this season,” the coach said. “This is one of the better technical teams I have coached. “The players have a good understanding of the game and they help out one another.”

As always, Coach Walchanowicz’s teams are built from the goal up. He’ll probably go with the 40-40 concept in most matches as junior Taylor Lockhart and sophomore Jake Samsel will help each other out this year in the varsity net. He might also go with the Net/Field/Net concept.

“We have two quality keepers; both have great potential,” Walchanowicz said. “I know many coaches who would love to have any one of them.  We have the potential to have some of the best goalkeepers in the SWC.  Both are good Student/Athletes as well and will probably be in the field if not in net.”

Defensively, Olmsted Falls will have juniors Ryan Hanks, Kyle Barber, and Tim McClaren and senior Mike Coury to anchor the back line. They might have more help in the back third.

“Freshman Eric Skutt is developing nicely and shows great promise to help out this season as well,” the coach said.

The Falls midfield this year has depth with 6-7 core players. Senior Zach Schultz, junior Brian Bildstein and sophomore Brad Sommer will look to combine speed and playmaking skills to put opposing defenses on their heels.

Senior Jim Coury, sophomore James Bildstein, and freshmen Logan Johnston and Mike Payne will help round out the center of the field.

“Zach Schultz, an All-SWC second team player last year, is a gifted player,” the coach said. “Junior Alex Christie will also contribute as an attacking midfielder.”

At forwards, we have a committee of players who all have strengths. Seniors Max Norman and Mark Zapotosky along with brothers, junior Dino Alai and sophomore Jon Levin, will look to combine and to push the ball forward.

There are also some key players for the Bulldogs on the JV team who will be asked to step in and contribute on the Varsity level as the season progresses.

“We have 3-5 players on the JV squad who can earn time as they develop and progress,” Coach Walchanowicz said. “It is exciting. We have been training, using the academy approach in which everyone trains together and we select the best players on a week-to-week basis. It really helps build a ‘team’ mentality.”

Whatever this group of Bulldog Student/Athletes lack in experience, they can make up for as quick learners. They expect to be awarded the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association Team Academic Award for the fourth consecutive year.

“We ill also be in the running for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s All-Team Academic Award,” Walchanowicz said.

Of course, the injury bug will have to stay outside of the Falls and the Township for at least the next three months.

“With a team this young, injuries are always a concern,” the coach said. “We need to stay healthy. Period! We are trying to hang our hat on playing good defense as a team this year.  If we stay consistent defensively, we should be able to turn a few heads and give many of the teams in the SWC more than they are expecting.  If the team can reduce the number of soft goals it gave up last year and put away its chances, this team can go far. We have been waiting for this all year. We did not like how we went out in the playoffs and how we faired in the conference.  The boys have something to prove.  It is exciting.”

Lake Ridge tames Cleveland Heights 

to win Cat's den for the night

 Aug. 16, 2010


By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor



HIGHLAND HILLS – In a high school golf match this afternoon here at Highland Park Golf Course, the Lions of Lake Ridge Academy edged out the Tigers of Cleveland Heights, 325-413.


Nick Nemetz earned match medalist honors, shooting a 79 for the Lions. He was followed by Mitchell Rice (80), Spencer Scheeler (81), and David Radulovich (85).


Heights was led by Tyler Rudy’s 88. Rudy was followed by Jameel Jackson (96), Sheldon White (110), and Mark Stroud (119).














Six Academic All-OAC picks among 

26 Cleveland-area men and three 

teams to play key roles in upcoming 

OAC college soccer season

Aug. 16, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


AUSTINTOWN –  Twenty-six Cleveland-area individual men will play key roles on their respective teams and three area teams will be competing for a soccer championship in the Ohio Athletic Conference this year.

Among those were six were Academic All Conference selections.

Locals Baldwin-Wallace, John Carroll and Mount Union all have enough back this season to make a serious challenge for the top spot in the OAC this year. Both the Yellow Jackets and Blue Streaks finished in the upper division last year, with B-W missing a share of the title by only two standings points.

David Hickey


The Blue Streaks have back North Royalton’s Joe Ciacchi and Jake Milli (Walsh Jesuit alum) back among key players, along with St. Vincent-St. Mary grad David Hickey from Stow, Hudson’s Matt DeMarchi (also a Walsh grad), Brecksville’s Jeff Kosek, Massillon High’s Andrew Fatigati and Vermilion’s Corey Rider.

Jake Milli


DeMarchi had 72 saves in 17 matches in goal in ’08. Kosek also missed most of last season but scored seven goals in 18 matches in ’08. Hickey, Ciacchi, Fatigati, Rider and Milli combined for 19 goals and 12 assists. Farigati had eight of those goals including two game winners, while Rider reached double figures in factoring in on goals with six goals and five assists. Hickey also had a game winner.

Joe Ciacchi


In addition, Ciacchi and Milli were Academic All OAC second team in 2009.



B-W has back Medina’s Carlin Vandendriessche and Jeff Bonezzi back along with Stow’s Jeff Grarter and Tyler Leister, Walsh’s Pat Brennan and Huron’s Andrew Thompson from the local ranks. Vandendriessche, a first-team all-league pick, racked up 30 points with 13 goals and four assists in 2009. The other four combined for 19 goals, led by Leister’s eight, in ‘09.




Also of major note, Garter was first team Academic All-OAC.



Columbia’s T.J. Welch, Willowick native Kevin Cindric, Midpark grad Korey Smerk, and North Olmsted product Tim Debth is the quartet that heads up the local contingent for Mount. Welch was named OAC Midfielder of the Year in ’09, tallying eight goals, equaling Cindric for the team lead in goals scored among the returners.


 Smerk and Debth each picked up 10 points last year.



The Purple Raiders also have back junior Anthony Grenga, who made Academic All OAC first team in ’09.



Also expected to play a factor in their teams’ goals this season are Brunswick’s Cory Buhrman at Heidelberg, Willowick’s Brandon Siringer at Marietta, Parma’s John Molnar at Muskingum, Jackson’s Dustin Kiaski at Otterbein, and a quintet at Ohio Northern that includes Wellington’s Greg Stawicki and Christian Huelsman, Wadsworth’s Dan Otanicar, Walsh alum Abrim Mueller, and Cloverleaf High grad  Dustin Connor.




Stawicki amassed 18 points in only 13 starts for the defending OAC champ Polar Bears in ’09, while Huelsman had 33 points and made All-Region, and Otanicar knocked it around for 22 points and also made All-Region. Otanicar, Connor, Mueller, and Huelsman were all All-OAC.



Otanicar was first team Academic All OAC and Connor second team Academic All OAC.

Molnar had 12 points for the Muskies last year. Burhrman had five goals and Kiaski seven points.