A Page -- July 25, 2010

Eight multiple-year varsity

lettermen lead veteran Elyria 

Catholic soccer team

July 25, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


ELYRIA – Elyria Catholic boys’ soccer coach Mike Wisnor is going to go with a veteran varsity group this season in the hope that experience will be the crux for his team to win the North Coast League, its last in the loop before having to deal with the likes of Bay, Avon and Rocky River next year in its new league, the West Shore Conference.

Wisnor is carrying only one underclassman in this year’s unit. Joining the near all junior/senior team is frosh Mike Saddler, who joins his brother Stephen, a junior fullback.

Coming off a season in which they posted a decent 8-7-2 record that ended with a 1-0 loss to Rocky River in the playoffs, the Panthers are looking to turn the corner with the more veteran group. EC has had a winning track record under Wisnor, whose Panther teams have posted an 84-47-16 record in eight seasons.


Although all upperclassmen, including eight roster members who are multiple-year varsity letter winners, some of the group is still light on experience at the varsity level.

“The seniors need to be effective leaders on and off the field for the team to be successful,” Wisnor said. “The team is young so overall confidence will grow as the season progresses. The team should finish the season with no fewer than ten wins in a very competitive North Coast League Conference.”

Stephen Saddler returns to the starting line-up after missing all of last season with a torn muscle. David Elwer has been moved up top and is joined by fellow junior Taylor Millar, who is also moving from midfield to striker.

“The team should be very competitive,” Wisnor said. “The overall success of the team will be driven by the play of the midfielders.”

More than half of the varsity starters (part or full time) do return this season, including midfielders Connor Balderson, Wil Birsic, Taylor Robinson, Doug Ellingson, Vince Faraji, Gianni Pierro, Matt Michalski, and Ryan Lutke. The corps of midfielders is led by Lutke, now a junior but in his third season on the varsity.

For scoring, the Panthers will look to three-year letterman Joe Jovanovski, now in his fourth season on the varsity.

The Panthers should be solid in goal with mainstay Frank Sanabria returning for his fourth season.

In his third season, Saddler will head up the defense, which includes his younger brother, Andy Ruiz, Andrew Gagne, and Tyler Morris.

Also returning at forward is senior Tyler Mahone.

“The team is returning a number of starters, is extremely fast up top, and has a number of solid players that can provide minutes off the bench,” Wisnor said. ´” The team goals are to win the North Coast League, capture the Elyria Cup, and compete for a district championship.”

 One thing working for the Panthers is depth, perhaps one of the deepest in Wisnor’s nine years running the sidelines in Knights of Columbus Field. Only six of the 20 on the varsity are seniors, so even if this is not the year, those numbers will stay intact for yet another season.

The Panthers have added as non-league foes North Ridgeville and Kenton, which is near Ada in Western Ohio.

As usual, the Panthers are also long on the academic part of the Student/Athlete concept. The team has qualified for the NSCAA Academic Award for the past eight seasons. The vast majority of players are outstanding students, and the team GPA is well over a 3.0.


A new decade brings a new coaching 

era for Lakewood tennis; All-league 

pick Danielle Curran heads up

veteran Ranger unit

July 25, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


LAKEWOOD – Led by All Northeastern Ohio Conference Lake Division pick Danielle Curran, Lakewood’s tennis team returns a fairly veteran group with half the starters from 2009 back for another season.

Curran, a senior, played second singles last year and will in all likelihood move up to the No. 1 slot this season. Fellow two-year letter winners joining Curran back into the Ranger fold are Maggie Latham and Meredith Richards.

Also 2009 letter winners back are seniors Ellen Schleckman and Marianna Polichuk. The aforementioned seniors will be in competition with a septet of juniors in returning letter winners Nina Pizzo, Kelly McKee, and Hannah Gallovic, and junior varsity move-ups Claire Gloizzi, Melissa Siegel, and Gwen Stephen.


Ruby Thomas and Erin Hoffert are new to the club.

“Working for us this season will be our experience and the girls’ longevity together,” said Rangers coach Bruce Schaedlich, who is in his first season as head coach here. “I look to be a major contender with five contributing seniors. I’m a rookie coach with these girls this year, replacing an established 20-year coach. I’m a male replacing a female and the players are becoming more comfortable with me each meeting.”

Schaedlich replaces Jamie Cure, who had coached the Rangers since the early 1980s.


The Rangers did take their lumps in 2009, but with a veteran group, it is not unreasonable for them to expect to improve on last season’s 4-13 finish.

“I would like for us to finish at above .500 and be in contention to win our division in our league,” Schaedlich. said. “Attendance at summer conditioning has been very good and girls are working hard and are committed to improving their individual games. They are confident without being overconfident. They definitely have respect for their competition in the league. They know their weaknesses and are working to improve upon those weaknesses.”

Leadership in terms of morale still has to evolve from the Ranger unit.

“Chemistry is improving on the team; I’m still waiting for that “take charge” player to emerge and lead,” the new coach said. “All the team members are great kids but there lacks one “fiery’ personality who drives others to improve and also provides encouragement. I must admit though, they are a mature group of ladies.”

Although Curran is a candidate to be both the No. 1 singles gal and the vocal leader, the lineup is still not etched in stone with clearly at least one of seven returning varsity letters winners thirsty enough to desire to play against each opponent’s top player.

“The only major change from last year maybe that who plays first and second singles,” the rookie coach said. “I’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.

The group is also strong in the classroom. Seven members have won Scholar/Athlete awards in past years.

This is the strong point of the team; their academic performance does transfer to the sports domain,” Schaedlich said “They bring maturity and problem-solving abilities with them to the court. This has been evident by working together diplomatically on and off the court.”


By Harry Plumer

AVON - The Lake Erie Crushers and Oakland County Cruisers played deep into the night on Saturday, closing a doubleheader. Lake Erie posted a 2-1 win in the opener while the nightcap was suspended in the top of the 14th. 


The Cruisers opened the scoring in the second when a potential strike three to Luis Fernandez skipped by Joel Collins allowing Joash Brodin, who had reached on error himself, to score and give the visitors a 1-0 advantage.

The Crushers responded in the bottom of the inning, when Cruisers starter Wayde Kitchens let his control problems get the best of him, walking Joel Collins and Raphael Turner before Arden McWilliams plated both of them with a two-run double to give the Lake Erie a 2-1 lead.

Kitchens continued to have control problems, walking the bases loaded in the fourth before being lifted in favor of Taylor Wulf, who was able to escape the inning with no damage.

Crushers starter Josh Roberts had no such problems, walking just one and not allowing an earned run over his complete game, while giving up three hits and striking out three for his sixth win of the season.


The Cruisers jumped ahead early on an unearned tally for the second time in one night when Zach Pace scampered home on a groundout by Mike Epping, which should have been the third out of the inning.

Oakland County widened the gap in the top of the fifth against Jimenez. Zach Pace trotted home on a single by Joash Brodin before Kyle Maunus plated Brodin and Jeremy Jones with a two-run double to put the Cruisers up 4-0.

The Crushers answered immediately with three runs of their own, albeit in a slightly unorthodox fashion. Raphael Turner and pinch-hitter Casey McGrew walked to start the inning before a second pinch-hitter, Trae Gore, reached on a cather's interference by Ben Barrone to load the bases. On the very next pitch, Cruisers starter Andres Esquibel, who was still carrying a no-hitter, hit Julio Rivera with the first pitch to score a run. Jodam Rivera proceeded to break up the no-hitter in the next at-bat, lining a single through the middle to score two and pull the Crushers back to within one run at 4-3.

The Crushers then rallied in the seventh against all-star closer P.J. Zocchi, who leads the league in saves. A miscue on what would have been strike three to Trae Gore allowed him to reach and after two fielder's choices it was Dom Duggan who stood aboard first. Duggan stole second and scored on Jodam Rivera's second hit of the day, a double down the right-field line, tying the game and forcing extra innings.

Both teams had chances late into the night and the game continued until the top of the 14th when the contest was suspended. The game will pick up tied 4-4 when Oakland County visits again August 6-8. The exact date has yet to be determined.

- Harry Plumer