Jamestown Greeneview's defense was exceptional.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
COLUMBUS -- Right when the Mooney High boys soccer team thought it had found the cruelest way to lose a state championship match, an even tougher setback showed up.
After losing the 2004 state championship game 1-0 in sudden death overtime, the Cardinals and Jamestown Greeneview battled through 110 scoreless minutes Friday before the Rams won the Division III state championship game in a shootout, 3-1.
Mooney dominated play at Crew Stadium throughout, out-shooting Greeneville 42-12, but couldn't get a ball to fall in.
When asked if this year's dramatic loss was tougher than the bitter one in 2004, Mooney coach Lenny Krispinsky agreed, "Yes, it is."
Although the teams were tied 0-0 after the 40-minute first half, the Cardinals had the best scoring chance when freshman Rob Fox's header on a corner kick just zinged off the crossbar.
After the break, Mooney came out with more vigor and attacked freely.
"What we wanted to do is hit the ball a little quicker," Krispinsky said. "We wanted to eliminate any unnecessary steps to take it right at the defender and make him make the mistakes."
Mooney took the first nine shots in the second half, including a 25-yard free kick by Zack Hernan that just sailed over the bar.
The Cardinals (18-4-1) so dominated regular play, they took all 11 corner kicks in the first 80 minutes.
Teams play two 15-minute sudden death overtimes if the game is tied and nothing changed as again Mooney dominated -- the Cardinals tried 11 extra-session shots to just two by the Rams.
While Mooney continued its clinic on effective passing, Greeneview sat back in a tight zone, foregoing any attack.
"We were playing against eight defenders the whole time," Hernan said.
Hernan, who scored 32 times this year, tried as many shots (12) as the entire Greeneview team.
In the shootout, each team selects five shooters who alternate kicks.
After Greeneview missed its initial try, Hernan placed a ball in the top left corner of the net for a 1-0 Mooney advantage.
Mooney senior goalie Andrew Loudon dived and pushed away the second Greeneview kick to preserve the cushion.
Then the soccer gods turned a strong Mooney lead into something else.
Mooney's second man, junior Alecko Frangopoulos, was rejected and kickers No. 3 and 4 of Greeneview hit shots past a defenseless Loudon for a 2-1 Rams lead.
Shooting third for Mooney was junior Dom DiPasquale who was high to the right while the fourth shooter, junior Kyle Buxman, kicked it wide right.
When Greeneview senior Jared Randall scored past Loudon, the Rams had a 3-1 win.
The Rams came out with a defense-first mentality, placing extra players in front of their goal. It was effective in that the Cardinals had few good looks, but it resulted in Greeneville mounting little offense.
Stuck to plan
"All season long, that's the way we played," Greeneview coach Bob Eakins said. "We were hoping for a quick counter attack and Ryan had a couple of breakaways."
Rams senior forward Ryan Hartman scored 40 goals this year. The Ohio Div. III Player Of The Year, Hartman was held scoreless for just the third time.
"They did a fantastic job covering him," Eakins said of Mooney's defense.
The Rams (23-0-0) were top-ranked all season and won two overtime tournament games. Greeneville seemed content to allow Mooney to attack from 25-yards out and hoped for a quick goal of its own. That never materialized.
Krispinsky said Mooney had been involved in just one shootout in school history -- in 1989 to Newton Falls in a district championship game.
"And, we ended up losing that," he said.