Mooney's bid for a second state title was snuffed by Watkins Memorial.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
COLUMBUS -- As a somber Zack Hernan sat on the Cardinal Mooney bench at Crew Stadium Saturday, all he could do is watch the championship medals presented to the opponent and imagine the Cardinals taking advantage of their early chances.
Pataskala Watkins Memorial won its first state soccer championship, 1-0 in overtime, over Mooney in the Division II title match before a record crowd.
"We didn't capitalize on what we could have done the first half," Hernan said. "We played too lax and we didn't get it done.
"We didn't have it going the whole second half."
In the first 40 minutes Mooney (20-2-1) had two good scoring chances. The Cardinals out-shot the Warriors (21-2-1) 6-1 before the break.
Still, the game was knotted after regulation. The scoreless deadlock surprised few -- each team shut out 12 opponents during the year.
Then, just 1:56 into sudden victory overtime, the Warriors scored on a bizarre play.
On the damning kick, Corey Kirk centered a ball from the deep left wing. His cross was knocked in by a jumping, twisting Mooney goalie Jeff Seddon.
"When you have the wind coming like this, and the ball floated, he committed too early," Watkins Memorial coach Dieter Thellmann said of the score.
"He went up for it and when he did that, it's a desperation clear. I think that's why it went in. He did hit it; he didn't hit it properly."
Kirk is a junior defender.
Has the knack
"He's done that the last three to four games," Thellmann said of Kirk's big play.
"He comes out of nowhere, the goalkeeper comes out, makes a mistake and all of a sudden the ball goes in the back of the net."
Mooney coach Lenny Krispinsky said he was blocked on the kick and didn't see the winning play.
"The thing of it was, the ball should have never been down there in the first place," he said.
Watkins had just two shots on goal in 82 minutes, both saved by Seddon.
"It was a simple misread," Mooney junior Kevin Miller said. "Jeff came out for the cross -- it was a simple cross.
"I guess he misread it. The wind might have took it; it might have been a little unexpected."
Still, the Cardinals should have never been pressed into the extra session.
With the game 10 minutes old, Mooney's Kiki Willis took a free kick from 30 yards. The try just cleared the defensive wall, but the Watkins keeper made a fine push save.
Another two missed
In the 27th minute Willis had a free kick from the top of the box, but Kirk knocked it away at the right post.
Willis had another free kick sail high, this one from 30 yards out and 4 minutes left in regulation.
The game drew 2,041 fans, at least half of them cheering for Mooney. The previous Div. II state championship record of 1,875 was set in 2000.