Lima Senior 8 Van Wert 1

I traveled to Van Wert tonight to check in on the Lima Senior Spartans.  Conceive Believe Achieve Soccer has conducted the Spartans team camp the past couple of summers and it has been a wonderful experience for us. A great group of hard working young men with a dedicated coaching staff of Mitch Monfort, Phil Vermillion and Matt Berney. It has been a most rewarding experience to witness the progress this program has made in the past 15 months.

Lima Senior plays one of the craziest schedules around. They battle the big boys of the TRAC conference - Findlay, Toledo St. Johns and Toledo St. Francis - and also mix in some WBL, NWC and WOSL schools.  Lack of consistency in the Spartans play has haunted them a bit during the first part of the season. They had stellar stretches of play against St. Johns and Findlay where it looked like they were ready to break through and then have had head shaking performances against other teams that left one wondering if they were ever going to get it right?

The Lima Senior Spartans got it right tonight at Van Wert against the Cougars. This was one the best team performances I have seen this fall. The Spartans were dominant from the opening whistle through the final whistle.  It was pure pleasure watching them play this evening as they really moved the ball side to side, forward and back and forward again. There was a steady stream of diagonal passes and crosses came from anywhere and everywhere. Talk about manipulating a defense?  WOW!  Just, wow!   This was beautiful soccer. The beautiful game at its best.

Senior Alex Ehora got the scoring started in the games 4th minute when he chipped the Van Wert goalkeeper from slightly right of goal at distance of about 27 yards.  The Cougars failed to get pressure on the ball and Ehora made them pay the price.

In the games 7th minute sophomore Caleb Grundisch playing as the holding midfielder pounced on  loose ball deflected off the Van Wert goalkeepers hands passing it into the back of the net from a distance of 12 yards out.

Nine minutes later junior Jayden Weltmer was left attended just right of goal at a distance of 24 yards and did what any good soccer player would do. He shot and scored the goal for his team.

The Spartan defense was instrumental in starting these attacks especially in switching the ball and making the initial passes to the feet of target players.  The outside backs also made well timed forays into the attack further pressuring and stretching Van Wert's defensive shape.

It was after the Spartans third goal in the games 19th minute that their defense made its one serious blunder as a center back was caught stepping to the ball when he should have been giving ground with his back line mates. Cougar midfielder Eric Yeung chipped the center defender playing Jacob Williamson in on goal. Lima Senior goalkeeper Eyon Berney was able to deflect the ball but not prevent it from trickling into the net for the Cougar's lone score.

Freshman Colton Fry scored next for Lima Senior when in the games 26th minute he struck a ball from 30 yards out on the left flank that found its way over the Van Wert goalkeepers outstretched arms and below the cross bar to put the Spartans up by a three goal margin once again.

The final tally of the first half came in the games 32nd minute when Caleb Grundisch played Alex Ehora in for a shot from 22 yards out just to the right of the arc. Ehora finished to the back post side netting to make it 5-1 Lima Senior at the half.

The Spartans began the second half of the match as they had finished the first half with strong possession play backed by rock solid defense. It took less than 5 minutes to put goal number six on the board for the Spartans. Senior center back Levi Quintero played a long diagonal cross forward to Nicky Shauf who defeated a defender and drove towards goal before placing a shot into the net from a distance of 9 yards.

In the games 58th minute it was Alex Ehora playing a short through ball for an assist of sophomore striker Luis Mendez's goal from 15 yards out.  Mendez is one of the really good young players in the area and it was nice to see him get rewarded with the goal. He is not going to get mentioned nearly as often as he might, but the havoc he wreaks on opposing defenses with his movement and one touch play should not go unmentioned.

Lima Senior's final goal came in the games 76th minute when senior defender Taylor Mericle got onto a loose ball in front of the Cougar net off a deflected Colton Fry corner kick.

The final was 8 - 1 in Lima Senior's favor, but I want to point out that the Spartans could have named their score tonight such was the dominating performance they gave. Head coach Mitch Monfort should be credited with playing a lot of players and mixing up his line up over much of the second half of this game. The Spartans continued to play their possession style game but the final pass and finishing touches were a tad less efficient than when the front line players were in the game in their preferred positions. A nice display of sportsmanship by the Spartans.

It should also be noted that 7 different Spartans scored goals tonight. Only Alex Ehora scored twice. There was no running up the score or padding individual player statistics here tonight. This type of balance is a product of the system of play the Spartans have embraced. Versatility in the attack and balanced scoring are trademarks of this system of play. When ran properly it is extremely difficult to defend against.

In closing I just want to reiterate one final time what a pure pleasure it was to watch this Lima Senior team play this evening. The way they went about their business this evening is why we can call soccer the beautiful game. Well done Spartans!

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