Lenny Krispinsky never had a better coordinated team.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
COLUMBUS -- Pushed to the limit, Mooney High boys soccer coach Lenny Krispinsky turned in the best coaching season of his career.
Although the Mooney boys lost their second consecutive state championship game Friday at Crew Stadium, bowing to Jamestown Greeneview 3-1 in a shootout, the young Cardinals were focused, aggressive and prepared.
Mooney players kicked the Rams all over the Crew Stadium turf.
Krispinsky, who wrapped up his 15th season coaching soccer at Mooney, has had better players -- he graduated an All-American in June.
But he's never had a better coordinated team, more attuned into their teammates, knowing where the Cardinals were at all times.
He has a 157-90-19 record with the Cardinals, but is 78-8-3 over the last four years. That's averaging nearly 20 wins a year in a sport that plays 16 regular-season games.
Mooney has been in the regional tournament five straight years, won the 2002 state championship and has played in three of the last four state title games.
His Cardinals keep getting better and they are still young.
Only three seniors played Friday and they will be missed. In contrast, Greeneview started seven seniors.
At Mooney, seniors Zack Hernan and Kevin Miller will play at Akron University next year. Goalie Andrew Loudon just might be the best player at his position ever at Mooney.
But, Krispinsky has four players who have started two straight state title games returning and has six reserves with two trips to Columbus back next fall. Mooney should be loaded in 2006.
Juniors Dom DiPasquale, Kyle Buxman, Alecko Frangopoulos and Sean Sullivan played nearly every minute Friday. The same is true for sophomores Tim Beck and Scott Blasko.
Freshmen Robbie Fox and Nicola Frangopoulos played all 110 minutes. Other ninth graders, such as Hector Hernandez, James Simon and goalie Jon Critell, saw much playing time this year for the Cardinals (18-4-1).
Krispinsky was asked if he's coming back next year.
"You better believe it," he said with a laugh. "I have some talent coming in next year that could probably start on some very, very good high school teams this year. And, these kids are only going to be freshmen.
"I'm very excited about it; I can't wait to start practice in
2006," Krispinsky said.