The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)
Eagles blank Rockets
North Olmsted’s Briones scores goal with 11 minutes left to seal victory
In a battle between two of the top boys soccer teams in the area, it took almost 70 minutes to get the first goal, and it was only one of the night.
North Olmsted (11-2, 5-0) got a late goal from Gael Briones with just over 11 minutes left in the game to defeat Bay (10-2-2,
5-1) 1-0 on Oct. 6.
Bay had some early chances but the Eagles were able to keep the score tied up at zero heading into halftime and get some chances of their own in the second half
“They were destroying us in the midfield,” North Olmsted coach Chris Marsh said about the first half. “They played with five guys in the midfield to our four and we tried to play through the midfield and they won every single ball. We couldn’t play like that. We had to bypass and find our two wide players. The most dangerous balls we played in the first half were from our right back to our left back.”
Marsh added “they do a real good job of staying compact so that space is difficult to play through.”
“We felt comfortable on possession,” Bay coach Bobby Dougherty said. “I think in the second half we lost our head. We got upset with the officiating and instead of just letting it go, and that is the tough part, make them beat us not the official.
“And you can’t blame the officials for the game, we had plenty of time to score and we should have scored,” Dougherty added.
“It probably should have been a 0-0 game but we got a fortunate ball to come straight back to one of our more technical players,” Marsh said.
“We weathered the storm in the first half and that was the difference,” Marsh added.
With just over 11 minutes left in the contest, Briones found a loose ball off a deflection and found the back of the net.
“(Coach Marsh) was hyping us up because we didn’t do that good (in the first half) and told us to start working hard and to do it for the team,” Briones said.
“Our defense worked hard, really hard,” Briones said. “Great teammates.”
Both defenses played great soccer, keeping the talented offenses contained throughout the match.
“We want to win 1-0, we don’t want to win 5-4,” Dougherty said. “We have based our entire season off of the back four and our goalkeeping. We know that in the playoffs, you might win the first game going away but after that, it becomes a juggernaut.
“In the last two weeks of the season, you are getting ready for the playoffs,” Dougherty added.
“You can’t lose if you pitch a shutout,” Marsh said.
“We probably generated more offense in the last 15 minutes because they had to push players forward and if they would have got a goal, we wouldn’t have been able to stay back and play lanes smaller,” Marsh said.
In games like this when it is late in the season and both teams are preparing for the playoffs, lessons are learned on both sides. Especially with both teams having big aspirations in the postseason.
“It’s a big win for us,” Briones said. “Everyone is happy and the fans came out and supported us. Great night.”
“This is what it is all about,” Dougherty said. “There are going to be one goal games (in the playoffs). Don’t panic, don’t freak out, stay within yourself, do what you have to do, play your role and do your job.”