Seven area high school teams are in the field at Tri-County Sports Complex.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
STRUTHERS -- Sometimes it's difficult to get high school coaches to agree on what day of the week it is.
But, Sunday afternoon three local soccer coaches agreed that participating in the James J. Simon Memorial soccer tournament was the perfect preparation for the upcoming prep season.
Seven local high schools were among a field of 24 teams that played four matches each over the weekend at the Tri-County Sports Complex.
Carlo Trafficante coached the Austintown Fitch High girls to the regional tournament last October, a first-ever occurrence by the Falcons.
"We enter these tournaments to rotate some kids, move them around," Trafficante said.
"It gives us a good chance to see some kids and evaluate them. So far no one has really surprised us."
With a good group of juniors returning, Fitch went 1-1-2 in the event.
"We have a good group of kids that have the opportunity," Trafficante said. "Some of them have to be stepping it up; they have to prove themselves."
Mooney boys win
The Cardinal Mooney boys defeated Hilliard Davidson Black 3-1 under a brilliant sky and had a four-hour rest until their fourth game, a 2-2 tie with Bay High.
"Naturally you want to try to win it," Mooney coach Lenny Krispinsky said. "But, what you want to do is get a look at the younger kids."
Mooney used a full bench of players and got goals from Kiki Willis, Dom DiPasquale and Kyle Buxman. Davidson, a Division I school, made wholesale substitutions throughout.
"There's a big disparity between the size of our starters and their starters," Krispinsky said. "The subs we have to put in -- I don't know what the water is in other parts of the state, but they sure grow them big everywhere else in Ohio."
He singled out the play of reserves Sean Sullivan and Frank Catone. "They've really come on with a big improvement from last year," Krispinsky said.
New Irish coach
The Ursuline girls will be led by first-year coach Tom Snyder. The Irish split a pair of matches Saturday.
"I'm a rookie and we have lots of rookies on the team," Snyder said. "The girls have a world of potential -- it's just getting it out of them right now."
He entered the tournament because "You see who is capable of playing what position [and] how well they can play that position."
While Snyder didn't list any one player as a standout, he said the Irish have a talented freshman class that may contribute immediately.
Tournament director Joe DeMay said that he did not keep team standings so the emphasis was on all players competing, not on teams winning trophies.