ROCKY RIVER: For the fifth consecutive year, Walsh Jesuit will wear the crown of final-four qualifier.
Returning to Division I after two years in Division II, coach Dino McIntyre’s Warriors are regional champs. Walsh freshman Marin Auth scored the game’s lone goal for a 1-0 win over Strongsville in the girls Division I Region 1 regional final Saturday at Rocky River High School.
“I do realize how important this game was,” Auth said. “I want to carry on the [Walsh] tradition.”
Walsh Jesuit (18-0-3) has not lost a game since Nov. 11, 2011. That was a double- overtime loss to Toledo St. Ursula in a Division II state semifinal.
The Warriors won the Division II title last year. Strongsville (13-6-1), the 2011 Division I champion, was trying to make its fourth consecutive final-four appearance.
Walsh Jesuit will play Rocky River Magnificat in a state semifinal Tuesday night.
With 17:43 left in the game, the wind and rain held for a little bit and Auth connected on a deflected shot from Maddy Anzelc. Auth’s shot was from 30 yards out and beat Strongsville keeper Sarah Baskey, whose reaction was slowed by bodies in front of the goal.
“That goal came from us being in their box and attacking the ball,” McIntyre said. “She [Auth] had one shot and it came on one touch.”
In the first half, each team had two shots on goal in a steady drizzle and wind. Walsh sophomore keeper Lauren Demarchi and Strongsville’s first-half goalie Samantha Ortenzi stopped each shot without an issue.
In the second half, the weather affected the Warriors, McIntyre said.
“Wind was a big factor,” he said. “We had it in the first half; they had it in the second.”
If Walsh looked sluggish coming back on the field after a scoreless first half, McIntyre didn’t see it.
“We weren’t able to keep possession [in the second half], he said. “When the wind stopped, you can see the result.”
The sun had came out about five minutes before Auth’s game-winner, but the rain came back five minutes later.
Anzelc, a senior midfielder, played up front to start the game. In the second half, McIntyre moved her to the middle to help add some size to prevent the Mustangs from sending the ball forward.
She was also there to help create opportunities for Maddie Filicko, Jessica Hlosek, Caitlin Glascott and Christina Trickett up field. In a game with even statistics, each team took six shots in the second half, with the Warriors putting four on goal and the one score.