De­fense helps Bull­dogs de­feat Strongsville

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - SPORTS - By Matt Lof­gren sports@morn­ingjour­ @MJour­nal Sports on Twit­ter

Olm­sted Falls boys soc­cer team’ stingy de­fense cor­ralled the Mus­tangs, 2-0, and gave coach James Walchanow­icz his 200th ca­reer vic­tory with the Bull­dogs.

Olm­sted Falls used a heavy dose of de­fense against Strongsville on Sept. 16 to stuff the Mus­tangs’ at­tack. The Bull­dogs came away with a 2-0 vic­tory and gave head coach James Walchanow­icz his 200th ca­reer vic­tory with the program.

Mo­ments af­ter shak­ing hands with the Strongsville play­ers, a group of Olm­sted Falls se­niors, led by goalie Shelby Ed­wards, quickly snuck to the side­lines to grab the ice-water bucket be­fore giv­ing Walchanow­icz the most mean-

in­g­ful Ga­torade shower of his ca­reer to cel­e­brate the mile­stone.

Walchanow­icz thought back to tak­ing over at a time when the team didn’t have prac­tice jer­seys.

“The one thing that just amazes me, I was sit­ting think­ing about this to­day at home and this was my 11th year here. And when I took the program over at Olm­sted Falls, teams would say we brought our JV B-team when the game gets out of hand,” Walchanow­icz said. “Things have turned and I think we ar­eas­t­ate cal­iber team, would not want to be any­where else other than here with these guys. It’s an honor and a priv­i­lege and to do it here with these guys, I couldn’t ask for any­thing else.”

Ed­wards, who fin­ished with his sev­enth clean sheet of the sea­son in the win, said the night was un­for­get­table.

“It means a lot be­cause Walchanow­icz is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had, and he’s had my back since Day 1. He set me up with hun­dreds of op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Ed­wards said. “To give him this op­por­tu­nity is one of the things I’ll never for­get and hope­fully he’ll never for­get too.”

Se­nior Ryan Wikle, whose sec­ond-half goal put the match out of reach, said he was proud his se­nior group got to help de­liver the big win in the midst of one of the best sea­sons the school has had.

“He’s a special coach, man. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had with the pas­sion he has for win­ning and he’s so com­mit­ted to the program,” Wikle said. “It’s in­cred­i­ble, he re­ally de­serves it.”

Be­fore the cel­e­bra­tion, the Bull­dogs had a job to do.

Olm­sted Falls kept the of­fen­sive pres­sure up thanks to the de­fense keep­ing the ball far away from the Bull­dogs’ end of the field.

“I think our of­fen­sive pres­sure starts with our de­fen­sive pres­sure, and as long as we stay within our scheme and play our de­fen­sive sys­tem, we’re go­ing to give our­selves op­por­tu­ni­ties to win the ball back, pos­sess it, knock it around and then go for­ward,” Walchanow­icz said. “That’s a thing we talk about ev­ery sin­gle day and ev­ery game be­fore we come out is play team de­fense. If we play hard-nose team de­fense, we’re go­ing to get some good op­por­tu­ni­ties and we win the ball back, find the open man, next man up and go.”

Vo­cal all night in the goal, Ed­wards’ night was made easy by the de­fense as he made three solid saves to keep the Mus­tangs off the score­board.

“My de­fense is one of the best at­tributes of this team,” Ed­wards said. “Ev­ery sin­gle game, they bail me out, and if they mess up, I bail them out. It’s one of those things where I only have to make a cou­ple saves a game. They’re great with my two mid-backs, Chase Fernkorn and Alex Klek, sec­ond to none when it comes to stop­ping peo­ple. They do a lot for me and I do a lot for them.”


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