Mooney rolls past Ursuline in district
Seven seniors accounted for six goals and five assists in the 8-0 win.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
STRUTHERS -- Seven seniors start for the Cardinal Mooney girls soccer team and the group collected six goals and five assists Wednesday.
In contrast, the lone senior on the Ursuline team couldn't play due to fractured ribs.
Led by this experienced group, the Cardinals blanked the Irish 8-0 in a Division II district semifinal at Valley Sports.
Champion (9-7-3) will play Mooney (15-2-1) at Valley Sports Saturday at 5 p.m. in the district championship game.
"They're a tough, tough team," Ursuline coach Tom Snyder said. "They set the standard in this area."
He was asked how much experience factored into the outcome.
"A big factor, I think so," Snyder said. "They're at a whole different level; that's where we're trying to get to."
Scores first two
Senior Marisa Simon, the architect of the attack at Mooney, scored the first two goals of the night, the second on a left-footed volley from 30 feet away about 12 minutes into the game.
The assist on that second goal came from the foot of senior Kelli Willis who also scored twice in the first 30 minutes of competition.
Willis now has 99 goals in her career. She didn't play in the second half after Mooney had built a 7-0 cushion, nor did any on the Cardinal starters.
Despite the soft, sloppy turf due to three days of near-constant rain, Mooney had the faster players, especially on the attack. Using an offense set near midfield, the Cardinals went for 1-on-1 play and capitalized often.
"We felt that if we could get the ball we wanted to be direct -- send the ball through and hopefully we could out-run them to the goal," Mooney coach Alex Simon said.
Senior Sarah Garchar made it a 3-0 game 10 minutes later when she successfully attacked from the left wing.
"I saw that Kelli Willis had the ball and I was making a run," Garchar said. "I called for the ball and Kelli played it to me.
"I took one dribble and I took the shot."
Open 4-0 lead
Senior Kelly Burke helped Mooney open a 4-0 lead when she followed up her own shot for a short goal. Burke shot from 12 feet away and Ursuline goalie Jolanta Carkido dived to reject the try.
The ball bounced back to Burke who was in perfect rebound position.
"Mr. Simon told me to follow after the ball," Burke said. "It slipped out of the goalkeeper's hands and I was just there. She held the ball for half a second and it dropped."
Coach Simon said that experience was instrumental in the outcome.
"That does play a big part because our seniors were really fired up for the game," coach Simon said. "They knew that if they didn't produce they weren't going to come back."
After Willis hit both her goals, the second assisted by Nomiki Frangopoulos on a sweet, one-touch entry pass, to make it 6-0, reserve Kara Joseph got into the scoring act.
Freshman Katie Griswold, one of the few underclassmen starting at Mooney, got her second assist on the Joseph connection.
12th straight win
Mooney, ranked No. 5 in the state, has now won 12 in a row. The Cardinals took more shots (14-2) and have out-scored two tournament opponents, 20-0,
Back-up goalie Veronica Skowron provided the only scoring in the final 40 minutes when she accepted a pass from Joseph and booted in a 10-yard goal with 13 minutes remaining.
Briefly after the game coach Simon hugged Ursuline senior Mariah Snyder, daughter of the Ursuline coach.
"We've know Mariah for years," coach Simon said. "It was tough for her not to play. It would be a different game with her in there. She was the leader on their team"
Despite missing the last seven games of her senior season with the displaced and fractured ribs, Mariah Snyder led the Irish with 16 goals.
Meanwhile coach Simon, and his daughter Marisa, an Ohio State recruit, will try to collect the first district championship ever for the Cardinals Saturday.