The Cardinals scored four late goals to earn a district final date.
By JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
BOARDMAN -- If a soccer team is inundating the opponent's goal with shots, eventually some of them are going to find their way past the goalkeeper.
Such was the case Monday night at the Boardman High field where Cardinal Mooney High's high-powered offense sprayed the Warren JFK goal with 18 shots without scoring against Eagles goalkeeper Jacqee Lombardi in their Division II district semifinal game.
But on the 19th try, after the game was nearly three-quarters over, Katie Griswold finally found the net for Mooney against Lombardi, and her score opened the gates to a four-goal flurry in a span of about eight minutes that carried the Cardinals to a 4-0 win.
Griswold and Ashley Cuba each finished with two goals while Cuba and Mimi Vitello each added an assist.
Mooney's defense allowed JFK only two shots on goal -- both in the first half -- as the Cardinals advanced to a district final Thursday against Ursuline at Canfield High field at 7 p.m. This season, Mooney defeated Ursuline, 7-1 and 3-0.
Gates finally opened
"If you get the first goal, sometimes that opens it up. Once you get a goal, that let's the offense play more naturally," said Mooney (14-2-1) coach Joe DeMay, referring to Griswold's first goal at about 22:40 of the second half on an assist from Cuba.
Griswold took the ball by herself down the middle and attacked the goal and faked out Lombardi to crack the ice.
Then Cuba scored on a long, left-footed line drive on an assist from Vitello to make it 2-0.
Griswold took a throw-in and drove the field by herself just like she did on her first goal to score and make it 3-0 with about 15:30 remaining.
Shortly after, Cuba connected again on a long shot from about 25 yards out at about the 14-minute mark for a 4-0 lead to seal the verdict.
DeMay said Griswold has "speed and persistence" and that she is "able to get behind the defense."
And the coached called Cuba "an all-around player" who knows how to advance the ball and get into the scoring act.
"She works the ball at midfield and gets it forward and then goes to the front of the offense to connect," said DeMay, noting that she "is a two-footed player. She can strike the ball with both feet."
JFK on the defensive
Warren JFK coach Billy Roberts said that he knew Mooney had a good offense and so his team went on the defensive right from the start.
"We were playing a counter-attacking style because they are a strong team," said Roberts, whose Eagles lacked offense and were relegated to their own side of the field for most of the game.
That strategy worked for awhile, thanks to Lombardi who came through with 16 saves for the game until the Eagles' defensive ace, Genna Roman, got hurt, explained Roberts.
"Genna Roman was the leader of our defense and when she hurt her toe, our team chemistry wasn't any good. After she got hurt, Mooney scored its first goal," said Roberts, who lauded Lombardi. He said his goalkeeper "turned it up for the tournament."