Sep. 25—Given its vicinity to the Interstate 90 westbound lanes, it's difficult to hear anything on the Cornerstone Christian boys pitch at Christian Life Church in Mentor.
But Sept. 25, the Wickliffe boys side sent a message that could pierce any noise issues, because it was loud and clear.
The Blue Devils got early goals from Kurt Boergert and Drew Rossman and were in control from there en route to a 5-0 win over the Patriots.
Wickliffe got to 5-5 on the fall with a young, new-look side under first-year coach Dom Buttari that is seeking to carve its own identity after the graduation of a large senior class that helped the program return to Division III regional competition and go 16-5 in 2022.
Generating 19 shots on target and 12 corners, results this thorough will aid that process.
"Yeah, I was happy, especially in the second half," Buttari said. "They started to really put it together a little more. We are really slow to start, especially on a grass field. We're just not used to that, which is funny, because me playing at Wickliffe when I was in high school, this would have been nice as a home field. (laughs)
"But now, it's foreign to them, and it takes a while. But overall, a pretty good performance."
PHOTOS: Wickliffe vs. Cornerstone Christian boys soccer, Sept. 25, 2023
Because there is no scoreboard at Christian Life Church, match times are approximate. But what is certain is the time when the Blue Devils seized control of the match was early.
Boergert opened his side's account in the 11th minute with a low-90 right-footed strike inside the left post, his 13th goal of the year, and Rossman followed with a slick left-footed finish in the 12th.
#NHsoccer Wickliffe 2-0
Kurt Boergert approximately 11th min (video here) & Drew Rossman 12th min pic.twitter.com/fdLmRzoygn
— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) September 25, 2023
Ryan Latkovich, Bo Buttari and Noah Touschner contributed goals after halftime as the Blue Devils put the result well beyond doubt.
With so much that is new, Dom Buttari is hopeful his side garnered some lessons about leading and succeeding that can push the program back to that level this fall.
"Well, I know they all want to go back," Buttari said. "They had a lot of fun last year. Very few of our guys got to play too much on that team. But if you talk to the guys, they all want to go back to a district final. They all want to do it again.
"We set some pretty lofty goals at the beginning of the season, and if we keep getting better every game, we can definitely achieve them."
Cornerstone (5-5) put in commendable workrate in the back. Its best attacking chance came in approximately the 68th minute, when freshman and leading scorer Kolsen Keeper had a free kick turned away by Wickliffe goalkeeper Anthony Shaw.
#NHsoccer My postmatch analysis of Wickliffe's 5-0 win over Cornerstone Christian
(Match story will be shared in a moment) pic.twitter.com/xQ4I0iHAtv
— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) September 26, 2023