(PAINESVILLE, Ohio) – In a battle between two nationally ranked teams, No. 13 Lake Erie took down No. 21 Tiffin 2-0 at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Storm (8-0, 4-0) recorded their fifth clean sheet of the season in handing the Dragons (4-1-2, 2-1-1) their first loss of the year.
The win avenges a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Dragons in last year's G-MAC semifinals. Tiffin went on to win the conference tournament.
"I think our plan was different than last year going in. We wanted to pressure higher up the field and deny the big diagonal or direct ball into the striker," said Head Coach Louie Rolko. "We wanted to impact the quality of the pass and make sure we picked up the loose balls and knockdowns. We have a different team than last year with more experience. I think a lot of the result stems from the leadership and their attitude -always up for the battle and willing to rise to the challenge."
That leadership was on display early.
Javier Borreguero (Sr., Nigran, Spain) put the Storm up initially at the closing of the initial third after some precision passing from Jonathan Carr (Sr., Sunderland, England) and Ayden Von Essen (Fr., Hamilton, Australia). The international trio teamed up as Von Essen found Carr on the left side who crossed it in to a streaking Borreguero who scored his third goal of the year. It was Von Essen's second and Carr's third assist of the year.
Von Essen and Borreguero weren't finished as they paired up for an insurance goal in the final minutes. This time it was Borreguero who recorded the helper, also his third of the year, while Von Essen pounded it into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the year.
Tom John (Jr., Ahrensburg, Germany) and the defense were stellar once again as they limited the Dragons opportunities. The visitors were only able to get four shots on goal, all of which were staved away by John, despite out-shooting the Storm 15-9.
The victory puts the Storm in sole position of first place in the conference.
"Going into the year, we set pretty lofty goals for the team, but they are very player-driven," added Rolko. "The players wanted to achieve things never before accomplished at Lake Erie. For us that's where it starts. The leaders set the tone every day. It starts with Jonny and Omar, and it continues with Mason, Tom John, Fenesse and Rod. They help keep the focus and attention where it needs to be. We stay humble and hungry. We continue to do the things that made us successful and put us here in the first place."
The Storm will close out a four-game home stand with Malone this Wednesday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. with coverage available on the Great Midwest Digital Network. Admission costs $5 with Lake Erie students, staff and faculty allowed in free with their LEC Storm ID card.