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Wildcats Stay Perfect; Prepare for a Big Week

By Jack Brennan '24, 09/28/22, 3:45PM EDT


The Soccer Cats collect a road victory against Shaker Heights and a Senior Day win against St. Francis.

Saint Ignatius @ Shaker Heights

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Oh - On Wednesday, September 21, the Wildcats took to the road to take on the Shaker Heights Red Raiders. The Raiders entered the match 2-2-2 coming off a 2-0 win against North Ridgeville. The Cats came in 7-0 from a gritty 2-0 win against Mason. The Wildcats came in as a heavy favorite, with Shaker being the scrappy underdog looking for an upset.

The Wildcats would kick-off to begin the game. As they did, the entire Shaker Heights team would drop back and play from their own fourth of the field. It quickly became apparent that the Raiders were not playing to win but rather to draw. 

This Raider playstyle continued throughout the first half. There were eleven Raiders behind the football 35-yard line at all times, posing an exciting challenge for the Wildcats. To attempt to combat this ultra-defensive style of play, the Cats would fire crosses into the middle, hoping to find somebody on the other end to get a foot or maybe a head on it. However, despite many promising attempts, the Cats couldn't seem to finish and get themselves on the board.
After 33 grueling minutes of ugly soccer, the Wildcats would finally break through. Phil Vlastaris would lay off a pass for Nolan Spicer, who looked to have a shot on goal, but before he could get it away, a Raider tackled him from behind. The referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. It would be the Wildcats' leading goal scorer, Zsombor Onodi, to step up and take the penalty kick. With a hurl of chants from the Shaker student section, he would remain focused and put the shot to the keeper's right and in the back of the net. The Wildcats finally had their lead, 1-0.

At the half, the Wildcats would discuss how they plan to penetrate the defensive playstyle of the Raiders and look to pile on goals. 

Ten minutes into the first half, Ernie Vargo would play a set piece to Nick Mikulec. The Shaker defense would opt not to pressure him, despite being less than 40 yards from the goal. Mikulec would take the opportunity to put a 35-yard shot on goal. The low line drive shot would catch the keeper off guard with insufficient time to react, scoring Mikulec his first goal of the season and making it 2-0 Wildcats. 

Less than ten minutes later, Ashton Daher would find himself pushing an attack forward near midfield. He would take a heavy touch that would be knocked away by a Shaker player; however, on the follow-through, the player would kick up at Daher, drawing a foul and a yellow card. Dismayed with the call, the Shaker bench would shout their grievances to the referee. 

The continuous failure to accept the call would lead to a yellow card for the head coach and a red card for the assistant coach. While all this was going on, Nick Mikulec would be set up to take the set piece awarded from the foul, and once the dust had settled between the Shaker coaches and the referee, he would play the ball in. Intended as a cross, the Shaker goalkeeper would misread the ball and take a step out. Because of this, the shot would sail over his head and into the back of the net, a second goal for Mikulec, this time from 50 yards out. 

The Wildcats would score another goal off of a rebound tapped in by Owen Sullivan. And when the full-time whistle blew, the Wildcats were victorious with a 4-0 road win over Shaker. 

Man of the Match vs. Shaker Heights

St. Francis @ Saint Ignatius

OHIO CITY, Oh - The Wildcat Soccer team would take on the St. Francis Knights for a senior day matchup this past Saturday. The Wildcats came in riding their multi-year win streak with a season record of 8-0-0, coming from a road win against Shaker Heights. The Comets entered 6-4-1, coming from a 2-1 victory over St. Edward.

As per senior day tradition, the starting lineup consisted entirely of senior class members, incorporating every active senior on the roster at some point during the match. 

Each team took a while to get their offenses flowing, with the first 15 minutes being relatively uneventful. In the 16th minute, however, the Wildcats would finally break through and strike first. A shot by Zsombor Onodi would be deflected by the keeper right to Carter Snyder, who would tap the ball into the back of the net.

Not long after, at the 23rd minute, the Cats would show off their elite chemistry with a tremendous Tiki-Taka goal. Vlastaris would lay off a ball for Mueller, who would play it quick to Spicer, who dished it to Onodi, who volleyed it to Sullivan, who chested to Onodi, who crossed it to Spicer, who scored. The phenomenal sequence put the Wildcats up 2-0.

The Cats' scoring would continue into the second half, as Zsombor Onodi would play a ball through to Nolan Spicer, who chipped the ball to the keeper's side and in. This would mark Spicer's 50th varsity goal as a Wildcat, an extraordinary achievement seldom achieved by high schoolers at any school. 

The Wildcat scoring would be capped off in the 57th minute, as Brady Mueller would find a shot from the 18-yard box and score. 

The Wildcats would give up a goal to the Knights at the 78th minute, just the fourth goal surrendered by the Wildcats this season.

The Wildcats would win 4-1 and improve to a 9-0-0 record on the year. They gear up to play Massillon Jackson on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Wasmer Field before embarking on a road trip to New York and New Jersey against St. Benedicts (NJ) and Chaminade (NY).

Man of the Match vs. St. Francis