COLUMBUS: The Walsh Jesuit girls soccer team took all the suspense out of the Division II state championship match Friday.
Walsh made quick work of Columbus St. Francis DeSales with three goals in the first half en route to a 5-0 victory and a state-record sixth state title on a sunny and comfortable day at Columbus Crew Stadium.
The Warriors (21-0-2) put together a dominating performance for which the defending state champion Stallions (15-8-1) had no answer.
Senior Maddy John scored two goals for Walsh, which set a record for largest margin of victory in a state final since the girls tournament started in 1985.
“We put everything together today,” Walsh coach Dino McIntyre said. “Every little detail, every little flick, every little run; everything was put together. Most of the season, we didn’t do everything. We would do a few things and that was enough. Today, it was perfect.”
Junior Alex Kithcart and seniors Sandra Yu and Kennedy Payne each scored a goal.
“It is bittersweet, definitely, because it is my last game at Walsh,” said Yu, a University of Notre Dame recruit who led the Warriors with 16 goals and 21 assists this season. “That is really sad, but there is no better way to end it. We did what we wanted and accomplished this. I am so proud of the entire team.”
Walsh held an edge in shots (21-2), shots on goal (13-2) and corner kicks (10-1).
“They came ready to play and they played well,” DeSales coach Bob McGee said. “They didn’t give us much room to play. They kind of squeezed the field on us. If you look at all of their goals, they were great goals they scored. That team was on a mission.”
John scored her first goal in the 17th minute with a header following a corner kick by senior Abbey Filicko.
“Abbey had a perfect cross on that corner kick,” John said. “It was heading in for sure I think already. I just got a little touch on it. It was amazing.”
Kithcart made it 2-0 in the 27th minute with her second goal of the season following a pass by Yu.
“It was an amazing experience,” Kithcart said. “The shot, I just saw it open and I took it. This was a team effort completely. My teammates got the ball to me and I had an opportunity to finish.”
Yu’s goal made it 3-0 and came in the 29th minute off an assist by Filicko.
Yu, Payne and Kithcart helped Walsh maintain possession at midfield and near DeSales’ goal with freshman Gabby LoPresti, sophomore Halle Stelbasky and senior Renee Mirka.
Payne scored her 15th goal of the season in the 47th minute following a pass by Yu.
“This year, everyone doubted us and thought we couldn’t do anything,” Payne said. “We proved them wrong. That was what pushed us today. We played with determination on the field and tried to get to every ball.”
John, a Xavier University recruit, concluded the scoring with her 13th goal of the season in the 56th minute. Sophomore Juli Knapp got the assist.
Warriors sophomore goalkeeper Libby Grace faced two shots and saved both. Filicko and senior Sarah Kornick joined juniors Emily Rogers and Kaitlyn Semelsberger to form a solid starting defensive unit.
John and Knapp contributed as reserves with freshmen Christina Trickett and Katie Quinn, sophomores Maddie Filicko, Talia Suglia, and Colleen Grace and senior Amanda Thomas.
“We came out and we knew it was going to be tough because we beat them earlier in the season [3-0],” Yu said. “We knew that they would use that as motivation. We knew we had to play our game and relax. I think we did that and we came out on top.”
McIntyre also guided the Warriors to state titles in 2000 and 2001 in Division II and in 2004, 2008 and 2010 in Division I.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.