This Week in Sports: Cleveland Heights Girls' Soccer Team Begins to Find Its Footing
Despite losses, coach sees potential on his team
Perhaps the Cleveland Heights girls’ soccer team’s record of 1-5 looks daunting, and the 4-1 loss at Laurel School on Saturday doesn’t inspire much confidence to outsiders, but coach Robbie Helfgott sees a bright future ahead for the Tigers, especially with a few adjustments the team made this week.
After all, the Tigers did earn their first victory this week, and a resounding one at that.
Cleveland Heights pounced on Euclid, 9-1, on Wednesday as Chloe Sudduth scored five goals and teammates Mariah Williams, Kalah Saunders, Lesley Saunders and Nichelle White joined her in the record book. Goalkeeper Doleisha Moton had four saves.
“We just switched to a 4-4-2. The back four were figuring it out. We just made a switch after the Mentor game (a 7-0 loss on Sept. 1). It was a lot more cohesive (Saturday) than at Euclid,” Helfgott said.
And as for Saturday, Arion Jackson scored the Tigers’ one goal. Helfgott also thought Moton had her moments defeating several breakaway chances from the Gators. Moton has only played competitive soccer for two years and had four weeks of goalie training over the summer.
“Today wasn’t her best day, but I thought she made some really nice saves,” Helfgott said. “Of all the things I have to worry about, she’s not one of them.”
And no matter where the Tigers are in their development as the season goes along, certain teams always get circled on the calendar.
“In every season, we get ourselves prepared for Shaker and Beaumont. We schedule very tough teams. We’ll play everybody. If we get beat by the best, then so be it. But at least we’re playing the best,” Helfgott said.
The Tigers host Berea on Monday (7 p.m.) and travel to Madison on Wednesday (6:30 p.m.) and to Beaumont on Saturday (3 p.m.)
The Tigers picked up a win, a loss and a tie to finish off the week and raised their overall record to 5-3-1 on the season.
On Tuesday at Cain Park, the Tigers defeated Edgewood, 4-1, but lost at Lake Catholic, 1-4, on Thursday. Against Beaumont, only the No. 1 and No. 2 singles and doubles players faced off from each team resulting in a 2-2 tie at Cain Park on Friday.
The Tigers' match against Shaker Heights was called off.
“We had a lot of girls out this week, so we used a lot of junior varsity players. But the girls played hard and showed a lot of improvement from the previous weeks,” Heights coach Kalee Muller said.
The Tigers are home at Cain Park next week against Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy on Tuesday and Euclid on Wednesday. Both begin at 4 p.m.
Donovan Blair and Brittany Tate-Lockett were the top boys' and girls' runners for Cleveland Heights at the Bruce Lerch Invitational at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School on Saturday.
Blair finished with a time of 24 minutes, 12.09 seconds for 69th place in the 5K run followed by Colin Higgs in 82nd(24:31.60) and Dylan Forest in 163rd (29:27.03).
Tate-Lockett took 33rd with a time of 28:26.09 in the 5K along with teammates Hannah Gillispie in 93rd (33:41.38), Julia Gay in 109th(36:03.93) and Jasmine Moore in 119th (38:14.68).
The Tigers will compete in the McDonough Invitational at Forest Hill Park on Saturday. Villa Angela-St. Joseph is the host school.
Central midfielder Nick Bernard scored four goals to lead the host Tigers to a 7-0 win over Euclid on Wednesday and raised the team’s record to 3-1-1. They are 1-0 in the LEL and 2-1 in the district.
Tigers coach Sean Sullivan had the team work on specific drills to get prepared for the Panthers and the season ahead.
“On the previous day in practice, we had worked on our central midfielders controlling the neutral zone. And we had the outside (midfielders) getting out of their comfort zone and passing it to those guys under pressure, and it paid off,” Sullivan said.
Kevin Lissemore, another central midfielder, scored the game’s first goal. Also scoring were Leonardo Leitao, a foreign exchange student from Brazil, and Desi Pelligree. Pelligree’s goal came from 30 yards out and was one of the best Sullivan’s seen since he’s been at Heights.
Sullivan played at the school from 1985-1988 and has coached there for 18 years with 11 of those as the head coach.
The Tigers travel to face Bedford on Wednesday (5 p.m.) Heights will then play seven games in 14 days.
Cleveland Heights’ No. 1 player Jameel Jackson shot 40 as the Tigers lost, 181-197, to Shaker Heights at Highland Park Golf Course on Tuesday.
Cleveland Heights hosts Lorain on Monday and travels to Bedford on Wednesday and Edgewood on Thursday. All matches begin at 3 p.m.
Cleveland Heights defeated Shaw, 3-0, with scores of 25-10, 25-18, 25-22 on Thursday, but fell to host Lorain, 3-0, with scores of 25-2, 25-11, 25-9 on Tuesday.
In the Avon Invitational on Saturday, Cleveland Heights went down to Avon, 25-7, 25-10, and to Clearview, 25-10, 25-16.
Cleveland Heights is home all next week against Euclid on Tuesday (7 p.m.), Maple Heights on Thursday (7:30 p.m.) and New Day Academy on Saturday (noon).
Beaumont rallied for a hard-fought win at home over Notre Dame Cathedral Latin, 3-1, on Thursday for its first overall win and first North Coast League victory. The set scores were 19-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-19.
“They kind of took us by surprise a little in the first set. Then we looked at each other and said, ‘time to start picking it up.’ If all the North Coast games are going to be like that, it’s going to be a heck of a season,” Beaumont coach Patrick Royer said.
Royer was particularly impressed with senior defensive specialist Maria Ianni and his setters junior Katie Siefert and sophomore Kelsey Valee.
On Wednesday, Beaumont fell at home to Magnificat, 3-1, with scores of 25-22, 22-25, 25-15, 25-18.
Overall, the team is 1-2 and 1-0 in the NCL.
The Blue Streaks travel to Lake Catholic on Tuesday (7:30 p.m.) and Walsh Jesuit on Thursday (7:30 p.m.).
Although the Blue Streaks fell short against St. Joseph Academy, 194-200, each player shot personal-best scores at Mallard Creek Golf Club on Wednesday.
Cassandra Heathcote shot a 47 followed by Lizzie Mosier (50), Samantha Cumley (50), Jennifer Corrado (53) and Katherine Corrado (53). Cumley is the only freshman in this group of sophomores.
"I couldn’t be more proud of the girls. They’re making improvements,” Blue Streaks coach Erin Zubal said.
Earlier in the week, the Blue Streaks shot a 220 against Hawken (196) and Padua (209) at Punderson State Golf Course in a tri-match on Tuesday.
Beaumont hosts Hathaway Brown and Magnificat at Highland Park Golf Club on Monday (3:30 p.m.) The Blue Streaks will play in the North Coast League Championships at Quail Hollow on Wednesday (9:45 a.m. shotgun).
Earlier in the week, the Blue Streaks fell to Holy Name, 2-1, at home Wednesday. Jessica Fox scored Beaumont’s goal.
Their match at home against Chagrin Falls was canceled on Saturday as heavy rain put the field under water. The teams hope to play Monday at Beaumont (6 p.m.) or Denison Park (7 p.m.)
Also this week, Beaumont travels to Lake Catholic on Wednesday (4:30 p.m.) and hosts Cleveland Heights on Saturday (3 p.m.)
Beaumont took fifth place in the Girls 5k Run Division II B race with 176 points at the Tiffin Invitational at Hedges Boyer Park in Tiffin on Saturday.
Sisters Sam and Rachel Graf led the Blue Streaks’ pack as Sam, a junior, nudged out her younger sister with a time of 21:30.18, good for 18th place. Rachel, a freshman, took 19th (21:32.96) followed by Allison May in 28th (21:57.47), Danielle Dejak in 54th (22:32.38), Anna Anthony in 57th (22:38.20), Kerry Drew in 73rd(23:06.31) and Maggie Thomas in 91st (23:43.04).
In the Girls 5k Run Division II and III Open race, Sophie Long took 82nd with a time of 25:49.75, along with teammates Jasmine Bailey in 137th (27:28.13) and Taylor Pacak in 143rd (27:40.56.)
The Blue Streaks will compete in the McDonough Invitational at Forest Hill Park on Saturday. Villa Angela-St. Joseph is the host school.
The Falcons had another rough go of it and ended up losing a game they didn’t even have a chance to finish as they fell to Waterloo on the road, 33-0, on Friday night.
Bad weather stopped the game in the second quarter, but the coach feels one huge positive note came out of the contest.
“We finally found a quarterback. That’s the main thing,” Falcons coach Donald Dawson said of junior Thomas Jackson. “He was actually putting the ball where it needed to be, and the offensive line started protecting (the quarterback). That was a bonus because now we can spread things out. We got a lot of speed on the end.”
Robert Drake had a 100-yard kickoff return that got called back on a penalty. Coach Dawson also cited the play of Matthew Hardnick, who had 10 tackles, and Chawnte Johnson, who had a fumble recovery.
Landon Scott, who suffered a neck injury against Richmond Heights that required him to be carted off the field and hospitalized last week, was found to have neck bruises and will be back to play against St. Wendelin on Sept. 24.
Lutheran East will play its second straight away game at Youngstown Christian on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.