Mooney's goals beat Irish heart
The Cardinals advanced to the Div. III regional.
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CANFIELD -- "Comfortably Numb," the Pink Floyd song featured in the Martin Scorsese movie "The Departed," could be the Mooney High boys soccer team's motto.
During Saturday's Division III district final at Canfield High, Mother Nature pelted the players and fans with rain, hail and even a few snowflakes.
The Cardinals, state runners-up the past two years, fought off the elements and their fears of an upset to rally for a 3-2 overtime victory over rival Ursuline.
Senior Dom DiPasquale, who netted the final two goals, said he's never played in such wintry conditions.
"First of all, [we were] numb and just tried to fight through it," said DiPasquale of the nasty conditions.
"It's an amazing feeling," said DiPasquale after he beat Ursuline goalkeeper John Colla with 4:21 remaining in overtime. "I just tried to sell it as best as I could and just put it on target."
After Scott Blasko's shot was blocked, DiPasquale pounced on the ball near the Ursuline goal and ended the game.
"Dom has been having kind of an up-and-down year for us," Mooney coach Joe DeMay said. "He's a great player and someone who we really look to step up.
"We talked to him before the tournament and before this game that it's time for [him] to show that quality he has and step up," DeMay said. "And obviously he stepped up for us in a big way. He scored two huge goals."
The overtime goal plus the one DiPasquale scored with 6:21 remaining in regulation kept his varsity career alive.
Acknowledging that the Cardinals have faced deficits this season, DeMay said, "This is one of the first times where we've come back all the way to win, so it was a good character test for the boys."
Four minutes into the game, Mooney's Tim Beck scored on an assist by Aleko Frangopoulos. Eighteen minutes later, Ursuline's Justin Mihaly tied the game.
With 22:36 remaining in the second half, Ursuline's Giovanni Borgia stole the ball in the Mooney end and beat goaltender Jon Critell for a 2-1 lead.
"It was a valiant effort against one of the best teams in the state," Ursuline coach Harry Leith said. "I couldn't be prouder of my guys.
Stunned, the playoff-tested Cardinals turned on their jets.
"I thought we had them, but we gave up a silly goal," Leith said "I wanted them to keep punting the ball up the field but one of our guys made a mistake and dropped the ball back, and it stayed down there and they got a goal out of it."
DiPasquale said the Cardinals "started pressuring them and we felt it was going to happen. For most teams, winning a district title is a major accomplishment. For Mooney soccer, it's almost expected."
DeMay credited "Robbie Fox and Aleko Frangopoulos in the midfield. [They] got things going and it became infectious. It started in the midfield and caught fire from there."
One of the state's final 16, Mooney next plays on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Canton Central Catholic against Wellington or Rocky River Lutheran West.
Leith said the weather favored the Irish but overtime didn't.
"Conditions were better for us as far as the field goes. It was slick all over the place," Leith said. "They've got a lot more depth than we do. Our guys were running out of gas [but] they've got a lot of heart."