AVON LAKE, Oh - This past Saturday, the Wildcats kicked off the 2023 soccer season dominantly with a solid 4-0 road victory over the Shoremen of Avon Lake. The Cats showcased an all-new lineup from last year, with Nick Mikulec being the only returning starter from the victorious 2022 campaign.
Tactically, the Wildcats started in a 4-3-3, utilizing Mikulec as their sole defensive midfielder. They would later opt for a more aggressive formation, switching into the midfield-heavy 3-5-2 formation.
The Cats would get their first goal of the season quickly, as junior Marty McLaughlin would fire a ball in from the midfield that connected with sophomore Sam Trivisonno, who scored on a spectacular aerial finish into the side netting.
The Saint Ignatius side wouldn’t take their foot off the gas, as Sam Trivisonno would score again ten minutes later off a ball that ricocheted back to him. This would give the Cats a 2-0 lead, which they’d carry into halftime.
Coach Mike McLaughlin spoke about keeping up the pressure and putting more goals in the back of the net during the halftime huddle, advice which the team would save time in heeding.
Just two minutes into the second half, David Salukombo found himself dribbling down the wing, into the corner and into the box, toppling a defender. The quick winger would then cross the ball to the top of the box, where Marty McLaughlin would have a shot with his non-dominant right foot that found the right side of the net.
The Wildcats would cap off the night’s scoring with a goal off the bench, facilitated by a cross from Casey Meltzer, finished into the net by Ryan Corrigan.
With their 4-0 win, the Wildcats moved to 1-0 on the season.
TWINSBURG, Oh - On Tuesday, the Wildcats would drop their first game to an opponent from Ohio since the 2018 season, as they would be bested by Twinsburg 2-0.
Rather than opt for their traditional 4-3-3 formation, the Saint Ignatius side would come out in their attacking 3-5-2, which they’ve switched into several times this preseason and last Saturday against Avon Lake.
It became apparent early that the scrappy, physical match would become a race for whichever team grabs the momentum first. Eight minutes in, that team would be the Tigers. A lazy pass back, intended for goalkeeper Colin Monroe, would be intercepted by Twinsburg’s Tate Lowry before it could reach its target. Now, with a golden opportunity, the senior would fire the ball over the outstretched arms of Monroe and into the net, giving the Tigers an early lead.
After a scoreless 20 minutes of soccer, Twinsburg would get yet another gift, as their winger ran to the box, went down, and the referee pointed to the penalty slot. With Twinsburg Junior Evan Schneeman lining up to take the kick, Wildcat keeper Colin Monroe would guess left. Schneeman went right. The Tigers took a 2-0 lead.
At halftime, the Cats would try to adjust to pull the game back into reach, but struggling to overcome Twinsburg’s size, physicality, and ultra-defensive formation and mindset, the task proved too tall.
Saint Ignatius falls to 1-1 on the season. It is their first loss to an in-state opponent since 2018, when they lost to Medina in the State Semifinal.
After an extended break, they’ll look to bounce back in the Jesuit Cup, where they play St. John’s Jesuit on Saturday on Wasmer Field at 1:00 p.m. The Cats will play St. Xavier at 11:00 a.m. or Walsh Jesuit at 1 p.m. on Sunday for day two of the Jesuit Cup.
The Cats open the season with a 4-0 win over Avon Lake but fall to Twinsburg 2-0 as they head to the Jesuit Cup.