ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Up 2-0, and having limited Grand Valley to hardly any opportunities at net, it only seemed appropriate that a couple of Edgewood defenders got in on the scoring.
It happened just into the 11th minute of the second half when Brendan Freeborn settled a crossfield entry pass from Hunter Olivarez and rocketed it into the far corner of the net from about 30 yards out.
The crowd-awing play capped off the Warriors first shutout of the season, 3-0 over the Mustangs in Chagrin Valley Conference action at Corlew Stadium Tuesday evening.
The Warriors (2-2, 1-2 CVC), got a score to go along with an assist from Cody Blenman in the first half, but the real story of the game was the Edgewood defense. Not only for limiting chances by swarming and outrunning the Mustang attackers to the ball, but also by the way they worked the ball to their own forwards to keep the pressure on the GV net.
“It’s something we definitely put a lot of practice into,” acting head coach Greg Myers said. “We talk about keeping the midfielders, defenders and forwards all working together. So, they work very well together. We have a lot of speed in the backfield and a lot of the buildup you saw tonight starts from the back up to the midfielder up to the forwards. So, they definitely stay connected and play well together.”
Myers was coaching in place of Rick Carlson, who was attending his son’s graduation ceremony from the Marine Corps Basic Training.
With the Warriors midfielders keeping the ball in the offensive end, the attackers were able to fire away early and often.
Nick Welty had two near-misses early in the game; one on a boot that sailed high over an open net off a corner kick, and another that banged off the crossbar.
At the other end, Joshua Huffman hit the crossbar on a pass from Jaymeson Philips, one of just a few chances GV would get.
Blenman broke the tie in the 14th minute by beating the Mustangs keeper, Andrew Verhas on a one-on-one matchup. Blenman later found Dillon Myers on a centering pass that ended up in the net.
“Cody is for sure one of our key players up there,” Myers said. “I thought he had a great game,”
Again, though, the coach credited the guys working the ball up from the middle that gave the offense a chance to attack.
“AJ Zuccaro, in the center spot is kind of like our quarterback back there,” Myers said. “He facilitates and feeds the ball up to the middle.”
At the half, Myers said they talked a lot about defense and finishing the game strong. The goal by Freeborn to finish it off was definitely one to smile about.
“Yes,” Myers said. “We highly encourage our defenders to go into runs. He took advantage of that and he’s definitely got a rifle for a leg.”
The loss drops GV 1-3-1, 0-2-1 in CVC play. Mustangs Coach Rick Huffman declined to comment for this story.
Edgewood will play host to Jefferson Thursday evening while GV will host Badger next Monday.