WARREN, Pa. – It was a tale of two halves.
(Photo: Eisenhower’s Luke Smelko plays a ball in front of Warren’s Roman Sheets.)
After making some adjustments from their first meeting this season, Eisenhower was able to keep Warren in check for most of the first half of Monday’s boys soccer match at War Memorial Field.
That changed in the second half, as Mark Lynds and Parks Oridway both scored twice over the final 40 minutes to help the Dragons to a 6-0 win.
With the win, the Dragons are now 9-0 on the season, with seven of those wins coming via shutout.
“We looked better in the second half,” said Warren coach Denny Flatt. “We made some adjustments at halftime. Eisenhower is a very scrappy team. They played well and hung in there.”
Added assistant coach Chris Darling: “Credit to them. They came out and learned from the first match, put some kids in some different positions. They had a really nice first half. They played hard. We had some opportunities early that we missed, and as we get closer to the playoffs we know we can’t make those mistakes.”
Warren did have some chances in the first half, and they were able to capitalize on a pair, but nevertheless Eisenhower keeper Gavin Labowski was terrific. The junior came up with a number of big saves to keep the Knights in it.
“Their keeper played aggressively and he did a nice job of coming out to play our through balls,” noted Darling. “Kudos to him, he must have had at least 15, 20 saves.”
The Dragons connected in the 16th minute of action, as Parks Ordiway played a pass to Wes Kiehl, who did the rest.
In the 27th minute it was John Page who made a terrific play, taking the ball from a defender and firing a perfect shot from the top of the box and a 2-0 lead.
That was the halftime score, as the Eisenhower defense, led by Alex Turbide, Jake Venman and others stood tall.
While Eisenhower’s defense was good, so was Warren’s. The Knights got two corner kicks in the final 10 minutes of the first half, but the Dragons were able to thwart each.
Alex Ferry earned the shutout in net, backed by the strong play of the defenders in front of him, including Jack Darling, Ricky Madril, Ethan Best, Sean Duckett and others.
“Our defense played really well,” Flatt said. “They clogged things up in the middle and got balls out when we needed to.”
In the second half, Warren started to take advantage of its opportunities.
Lynds scored in the 47th minute of a feed from JT Blum and found the back of the net again just nine minutes later off a nice dish from Kiehl.
“It was just a matter of connecting the passes, connecting the dots,” Flatt said. “We knew what we wanted to do but the last leg of what we wanted to do wasn’t quite there in the first half.”
Ordiway scored twice in less than a two minute span in the 67th and 69th minutes, courtesy of passes from Ian Darling.
Monday’s contest also marked the sixth time in nine games that the Dragons scored at least six goals.
Fidel Ramirez and Darren Glotz created a couple of offensive chances for the Knights in the second half.
For Warren, they know there is room for improvement.
“Things that aren’t quite working now have to work in a week and a half,” Flatt said. “Other than that, it was a good effort.
“It’s one of those things where you know a lot of the kids, I’ve coached a lot of the Eisenhower kids and you have mixed emotions. You want to win obviously, but you wish good for them as well. Guys were smiling out there, but they were competitive. It’s neat to see.”
Warren is at Conneaut on Wednesday, while Eisenhower hosts Oil City, also on Wednesday.