Next stop: Columbus Mooney's Kiki Willis has four goals in 5-0 state semifinal win
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CANTON -- A quick review of the raw numbers may suggest it was a one-man assault. It was anything but that.
Yes, Kiki Willis scored four goals and added an assist in Cardinal Mooney's 5-0 win over Richfield Revere in the boys Div. II state semifinal soccer game Tuesday.
No, he was not alone.
Mooney played its best first half of the season to seize a 4-0 lead at the break over the stunned Minutemen (13-6-2).
The only matter left to be decided in the second half was could senior goalie Jeff Seddon post his 12th shutout of the season. He did.
State championship game
Mooney (20-1-1) will face Pataskala Watkins Memorial (20-2-1) at Columbus Crew Stadium Saturday at 11 a.m. seeking its second state title in three seasons.
"Absolutely," was the reply when Mooney coach Lenny Krispinsky was asked if that was the best first half of the season.
"They gave us the midfield from the formation that they started with. We just dominated from there."
The Mooney midfield squad of Dom DiPasquale, Kyle Buxman, Alecko Frangopoulos and Nick Lutz took control of the action early and held serve to set up the offense.
Willis, who played little after the break, was held in check early by the Minutemen. Then he was taken down by a triple-team 22 yards away from the Revere goal.
His low free kick made it 1-0 and gave the senior 53 goals.
"It was all together a team effort," Willis said. "We came into the game focused. We were just overwhelmed and we were thrilled to come out here and play."
With junior Zack Hernan serving as an effective second threat on offense, Willis made it 2-0 about 15 minutes before the half on a brilliant goal.
Willis dribbled past one defender and tapped in a 9-yard shot after the goalie committed.
The goalkeeper beat the synthetic turf of Canton Central Catholic Stadium with his fist in frustration as the ball rolled softly to the back of the net.
"Everybody laid the ball where he could get it," Krispinsky said of Willis. "And then he had a tremendous individual effort."
Seddon, who was called on to make just one save in each half, was defended well by Kevin Miller, Sean Sullivan, Jason Franko and Nick Oles. For the most part, the Mooney defense was not tested before the halftime.
Freshman reserve Scott Blasko got his second goal of the season about eight minutes before intermission on a feed from Willis.
"I was making a run to the middle and Kiki looked for the open man," Blasko said. "I just put it in. It was a beautiful pass."
Record at 171
About three minutes before the break Willis extended his Ohio career record to 171 goals on a direct kick from 25 yards out. His bender, which resembled a Roger Clemens curveball, hooked around the Revere defensive wall making it 4-0.
"That was the best first half I've seen in all four years of any Mooney team I've been with," Willis said.
Reserve junior Frank Catone teamed with Buxman to control the action much of the final 40 minutes.
"We were so prepared for this game," Buxman said. "We didn't want Kiki or the seniors to be in their last game so we played our hearts out for them."
Early in the second half Willis accepted a pass from Frangopoulos and settled the ball before scoring the fifth goal. He scored on four of his five shots.
"Our midfield played an excellent game," Buxman said. "That's the best our midfield played all year."