Jackets advance with 11-9 win over Marysville


PERRYSBURG — Perrysburg faceoff specialist Alexander Birch secured possession on 22-of-24 draws to lead the Yellow Jackets to an 11-9 opening round Division I tournament victory over Marysville at Steinecker Stadium Wednesday.

Birch tied his own school record with 22 faceoff wins, helping the Yellow Jackets’ offense stay in control.

“I was timing the whistle right, I guess,” said Birch.

Perrysburg coach Baily Weatherwax said his FOGO (face-off, get-off) artist was in such control, he wanted Birch to take possession on the draw, head downfield, and score, which he has done countless times this season.

“We were trying to just play make and take it,” Weatherwax said. “He was our saving grace in this game, for sure.”

In scoring, Perrysburg was led by two freshmen attacks — Liam Thompson scored four goals and Mitchell McKay had three goals and one assist.

Sophomore attack Jonathan Butterfield had one goal and three assists, senior midfielder Trey Haney had one goal and one assist, and junior attack Zachary Schroeder and freshman attack Brody Macke scored one goal apiece.

The younger Jackets had to step up for Schroeder, who sprained his ankle in pregame warm-ups but continued playing with a slight hobble.

Almost half the scoring happened in the opening quarter, but McKay scored as time ran out to give Perrysburg a 5-4 lead.

In the middle two quarters, Perrysburg outscored Marysville, 6-3, as the Jackets’ defense stiffened, but the Monarchs scored two fourth quarter goals to make the game interesting.

“We had a good second and third quarter and good is a loose term on that one,” Weatherwax said. “There was something there tonight that I think the boys were not on the same page.”

Even Birch thought his team could have played better.

“Honestly, they were a decent team but I feel like we could have won by more,” Birch said. “There was some sloppy defense that we messed up on and some sloppy offense.”

Perrysburg outshot Marysville, 44-30, including 30-16 in shots on goal. Perrysburg junior goalie Nathan Ettore had seven saves, and Marysville junior goalie Maddox Barker was like a brick wall, recording 19 saves.

Marysville got three goals and an assist from freshman midfielder Ben Alessi. Sophomore attack Hunter Sheldon and senior attack Ben Durey had two goals and one assist each and senior midfielder Juice Kennedy scored two goals.

Perrysburg (8-6) now travels to face No. 2 seeded Dublin Jerome in the second round of the regional tournament at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21 at 7 p.m. Marysville sees its season end at 5-12.

Weatherwax says it is time for the Yellow Jackets, winners of four straight Northern Lakes League championships, to prove themselves on a bigger stage.

“Honestly, we come in with a chip in our shoulder,” Weatherwax said. “The entire region thinks we are a 15 seed and they kind of write us off, so we’re trying to use that to our advantage and give them all we can give them.”

Birch says his team will have to play better than they did against Marysville to advance one more time.

“We just need to focus on cleaning up our fundamentals — our defense and our offense, and prepare. That’s all it is,” Birch said.

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