Elder soccer kicks it’s way to victory

Captain Nick Pangallo #5, Lenny Belew #12, and goalie Jake Helphinstine

Captain Nick Pangallo #5, Lenny Belew #12, and goalie Jake Helphinstine

During the recent 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the world was obsessed with soccer. Soccer may be the world’s most popular sport, but in the U.S., sports such as basketball and football steal the spotlight. During the World Cup, however, that changed and America caught soccer fever.

After the Cup ended with a German victory, the soccer obsession quickly faded, but not for the thousands who passionately play soccer in the U.S.

The soccer players of Elder High School are no different. Many Elder students have played soccer in grade school, and many still play on CYO teams. By far the most enthusiastic soccer fans at Elder are on Elder’s soccer team. More than halfway through the season, the Panthers currently have a winning record for the 2014 season.

On August 21th, the Panthers were shutout 2-0 by the Sycamore Aves in the first game of the season. Just a week later, the Fairfield Indians edged out Elder by 2-1 at PAC. It was a bleak start, but the team didn’t give up.

The Panthers saw the chance to pounce on Oak Hills on August 30th. That night, the Highlanders were taken down in a 4-2 loss to the purple and white. Not only did the varsity soccer team win its first game of the season, but it also capped off a week during which Elder beat Oak Hills in football, cross country, and golf.

After a game against Covington Catholic was cancelled, the Panthers took on the St. Xavier Bombers at the PAC on September 6th. In a close game, the team shutout their GCL South rivals by a score of 1-0. However, the Moeller Crusaders then defeated Elder 1-2 at Moeller three days later.

The following week saw many victories for the varsity team, starting with Elder’s victory over the Hilliard Davidson Wildcats 3-1 on the 13th at the PAC. On the 16th, Elder swept GCL South rival LaSalle 3-0. In their third away game of the season, the Panthers beat the McNicholas Rockets 5-3 in their highest scoring game of the season up to that point. In the McNick game, Joey Sabato even set a school record by scoring all five goals in the same game.

Captain Joey Sabato
Captain Joey Sabato, who set a school record with five goals in the game against McNicholas.

The 2014 varsity team is relatively young compared to past teams. There are only three returning seniors, Drew Robb, Ryan Huesman, and Captain Nick Pangallo. There are only two sophomores, and even a freshman, Eric G

Captain Pangallo said, “With a new group after losing 10 seniors this past season, we had to feel each other out early on resulting in two poor losses, but since then we’ve come together and been very successful. We only have a handful of players with varsity experience, but those without the experience make it up with their vast skill. ”

“I don’t see one weak part in our team. We have a solid defense with the captain Nick Pangallo back there and our midfield is ran by our solid underclassmen. Our attack is headed by Joey Sabato, and Jake Helphinstine is huge back there in goal,” said senior Ryan Huesman


The string of three victories was cut short after Elder played the Bombers once again on September 23rd, this time at St. Xavier. The result was a 1-3 loss to St. Xavier, giving both Elder and Xavier a win against each other. The next game for the Panthers was 0-0 tie with the Colerain Cardinals at the PAC.

On the last day of September, Elder met Moeller at the PAC. In a reversal of fortunes, Elder beat Moe in a close game by a score of 1-0. The victory put Elder on course for a second place finish in GCL and gave Elder a winning season record of 6-4, with one tie.

Antonio DiLonardo kicks the ball in the Sept. 30th game against Moeller.
Junior Antonio DiLonardo kicks the ball in the Sept. 30th game against Moeller.

Huesman explained, “The GCL is up for grabs right now. St. X is leading the GCL right now by one game over us and Moeller and LaSalle is at the bottom. If everything plays out the way we want it to, we could share the GCL title with X, depending on the outcome of the Moeller vs. St. X game and our game against LaSalle.”

Senior Drew Robb said, “The team has a lot of heart, more than anyone. Being as young as we are, we use our skill and hard work to win games.”

While they have suffered a handful of tough losses, the Elder varsity soccer team has played a successful season. With their passion and wealth of talent, more victories are sure to come.