Freshman Hector Hernandez scored the game's only goal.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
STRUTHERS -- It's a scene well played out in Hollywood history: A star senior is injured in a big contest and a freshman reserve comes in to save the game.
Saturday, just when it appeared the Cardinal Mooney and Bay Village boys soccer teams were locked in a scoreless draw, a freshman scored the biggest goal of his life.
Mooney, ranked No. 7 in the state in Division III, used the goal to blank the Rockets, 1-0. Bay (8-1-1) was ranked No. 4 in Div. II.
With about eight minutes remaining in the game, Mooney senior forward Zack Hernan turned his right ankle and left the game for good. Hernan, who leads the Cardinals (5-2-1) with 12 goals, was replaced by Hector Hernandez.
A minute later Hernandez placed himself perfectly at the top of the Bay goalie box, about 15 yards out.
Mooney junior forward Dom DiPasquale found Hernandez with a nifty entry pass and the freshman reserve chipped the ball just over the goalie's head for the only score of the game.
"I ran in from the right side and I just had to chip in the goal to the left corner [of the net], " Hernandez said.
Hernandez, a natural right-footed player, accepted the pass and scored with his left foot.
He described the decision to shoot with his other foot that resulted in his fourth goal of the season.
"I looked at him [Bay goalie Austin Chelko] and saw his position before and just had to chip it to the left side," Hernandez said.
Mooney coach Lenny Krispinsky tried to prepare Hernandez for his role in the game.
"When I talked to him earlier, I told him 'You have an opportunity, if you play hard today, you can be the hero,' " Krispinsky said. " 'This is going to be a one-goal game.' "
Despite the dearth of scoring, each team had plenty of chances but the goalies seemed up to the challenge.
Cardinals take 11 shots
Mooney took 11 shots including a hard spinning blast by Hernan midway through the second half that just bounced off the left upright.
The Rockets shot eight times but Mooney senior goalie Andrew Loudon prevailed. Loudon had five saves and now has five shutouts in eight games.
"Andrew is a very intelligent keeper; he's a team leader," Krispinsky said. "Technically he's as good as any you'll find anywhere."
Loudon credited his defense of Kevin Miller, Kyle Buxman, Nicola Frangopoulos and Sean Sullivan for making his job seem easy.
"It's not really me, it's more the team," Loudon said of the blanking. "Kevin Miller, he's my central back. I've played with him for a long time. He's my man. He does everything I ask him to do and more."
Although the two schools have won a combined three state championships, they had never played before. Both coaches saw it as a valuable lesson.
"The nice thing about today, it didn't matter," Bay Village coach Robert Dougherty said.
"No one lost any money; no one's going home for the rest of the year. For the most part it's the atmosphere we're looking for. It was very fun."
Krispinsky said Bay was the best team Mooney has played so far.
"They're definitely a Division II contender. They're going to go far in the playoffs. It exposes our kids to really good competition from outside of the area."