Cardinal Mooney's Willis breaks scoring record
The senior became Ohio's career goal-scoring leader in a 6-1 win over Canfield.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CANFIELD -- The great ones always make it seem easy.
About 60 minutes into Saturday's game, Cardinal Mooney High senior Kiki Willis took an entry pass from Aleko Frangopolous and redirected it into the back of Canfield's net.
The score, his third of the game and 155th of his career, made Willis the top soccer goal scorer in Ohio high school history.
Willis scored again about 10 minutes later to give Mooney a 6-1 win.
"It's unbelievable," Willis said of snapping the state standard. "I love it. I came into the game so excited -- I felt so good.
"I felt we were going to play well as a team. Fortunately, I played well enough to score those four goals and break the record with the help of my teammates."
Eyeing the mark
Willis entered the game needing two goals to tie the mark of 154 set by Ryan Pore of Mansfield Madison Comprehensive (1998-2001).
In contrast, Canfield entered the game with a defensive plan to stop Willis from getting free.
Canfield sophomore defenders Kevin Ricks and Nick Benedetto and junior Adam Jones were up to the task, at least in part, holding Willis to just a 17-yard goal off a direct kick in the first half.
By halftime the Kiki Countdown was on.
"He deserves it," said Canfield coach Phil Simone, who preserved the game ball so Willis could keep it as a trophy.
"As much as we didn't want to see him break the record here, he's the best player I've seen in high school, ever. I just hate to see that it happened here."
Willis scored a left-footed goal from the left side of the box with the second half just underway to make it 3-0 and tie the Ohio mark.
"I didn't think I was going to get to it," he said of the pass. "I made it there in time and put it back in."
Canfield (2-8-4) scored on a shot by Joe Fisher to narrow the gap to 3-1, but the Willis Watch continued.
The Canfield goal, assisted by Scott Siddal, was one of the few times Mooney's defense was penetrated.
Mooney junior Kevin Miller helped construct a fortress around goalie Jeff Seddon, holding Canfield to just two shots in 80 minutes.
Minutes later Frangopolous worked free in the right wing and found Willis in the top of the box.
"I shouted for the ball and luckily Aleko put his head up and saw me coming across the goal," Willis said.
"I put it in with a one-time volley."
The soft shot produced a 4-1 lead and brought applause from both sides of the field.
After so many hard kicks throughout his career, Willis punched in a ball for his 39th score of the year.
"He puts us one level above a good team," said Mooney coach Lenny Krispinsky. "He makes us a great team.
"We started a little bit slow. We started a little bit unmotivated. We knew once one would go in, we thought our confidence would build."
Zack Hernan and Dom DiPasquale also scored for Mooney (12-0-1), the top-ranked Division II team in the state.
"Our game plan was working," said Simone of Canfield's plan to deny Willis touching the ball.
"Our youth couldn't keep it up the entire game. It's tough to contain a player like that a whole game."
Canfield goalie Mike Musilli saved 11 shots.