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    Malarik stays hot as Independence downs Lutheran West, 6-0


    Junior Dan Malarik is on a bit of a scoring streak. OK, maybe that doesn’t adequately tell the story.

    Dan Malarik has scored 14 goals this season

    Malarik scored three goals in Independence’s 6-0 win over Lutheran West on Monday to give him 10 goals in his last three games and 14 on the year.

    “He’s on fire,” said Independence coach Ryan MacRaild of Malarik, who tied a school record with five goals against Cornerstone Christian Academy on Saturday. “Out of the 29 goals we’ve scored in our last four games he has 13 of them and he assisted on at least three more. He just works his tail off. He’s the hardest working kid on the field.”

    Evan Collins, Mike Wozniak and Wyatt Kunevicius also scored against Lutheran West. Kevin Mewhinney had three assists, Collins had two and Malarik had one. Goalkeeper Joe Bernstein recorded his fifth shutout this season, which boosted his school record to 16 career clean sheets.

    The win was the eighth straight for the Blue Devils, who have outscored their opponents, 46-6, during that span.

    “We had a lot of unselfish play today,” MacRaild said. “Kevin Mewhinney is a goal scorer himself and he had three assists. He helped Danny Malarik get another hat trick.”

    Independence’s offensive explosion during its eight-game win streak was created by that unselfish play.

    Eight different players have scored goals during that stretch.

    Malarik and Collins are two of the most dangerous players to possess the ball.

    “Evan Collins, he’s our center midfielder. He distributes the ball and makes things happen,” MacRaild said. “Other teams keep an eye on him and that opens things up for other guys. It’s good to have a balanced scoring attack.”

    Kunevicius, a freshman, has emerged as one of Independence’s scoring threats.

    “He started off at forward but a couple of other guys stepped up and it’s hard to keep them off the field,” MacRaild said. “When he gets in he’s a dangerous player. He has four goals on the year now.”

    With such a powerful offense, one might think Independence’s defense plays second fiddle, but that isn’t the case.

    In front of Bernstein are Nolan Fields, Matt Mroczysnki, David Wisniewski and Brandon Stralka. They form a nearly impenetrable barrier in front of the goal.

    “They make a heck of a defensive team and along with Joe they have had a good run,” MacRaild said.

    Independence plays at Gilmour Academy on Thursday then will finish a game with Harvey on Saturday. That game was interrupted by lightning with the Blue Devils on top 1-0 with 27 seconds remaining in the first half.

    Steve Hare
    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.
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