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Magnificat wins first-ever regional championship

Story and Photos by Ryan Kaczmarski

The Magnificat varsity soccer team defeated Anthony Wayne for the school’s first-ever OHSAA Division I regional title, 3-1.

The Blue Streaks got on the board in the 13th minute of the game when a crossing pass went off a Generals’ defender for an own-goal, giving Magnificat the 1-0 lead going into halftime.

Magnificat extended its lead in the 51st minute, when sophomore Alyssa Baumbick nailed a free kick past Anthony Wayne goalkeeper Taylor Hill.

“I was just trying to keep it low and hit it hard, so it would go in fast,” Baumbick said. “Anne (Ubbing) was on the goalkeeper, so that kept her pretty distracted, too.

“We just tried to keep possession, stay patient in the attack and just try to get a goal early, which is what we did.”

The Blue Streaks controlled possession almost throughout the game, to advance to the Division I state Final Four.

“The way we sent the ball back and changed directions – I mean, they played really, really pretty soccer today,” Magnificat head coach Gretchen Micklitsch said.

The Generals put one in past Magnificat goalkeeper Kaleigh Piscioneri in the 64th minute to make the score 2-1, but less than one minute later, Natalie Coury streaked down the middle of the field, shrugged off three or four defenders, and powered a shot into the back of the Generals’ net to cap the scoring and start the celebration.

“That goal was super important,” Micklitsch said. “What was great about the goal, was that Natalie – one of our senior captains – did what she does best, and dribble through three people to get that goal and ‘seal the deal.’

“That was really exciting.”

“I wanted to score so badly in this game, and I felt it coming,” Coury said. “I had so many shots in the first half that were so close to being in.

“Jaycie (Brown) played me a perfect ball and I knew that I just had to make it, especially because they just scored. We needed to get our momentum back.”

Magnificat outshot the Generals 27-6 in the game, but attack was not in the forefront of the Blue Streaks game plan.

“Our plan today was to be smart on defense, and patient on attack,” Micklitsch explained. “I feel we possessed the ball pretty well today, and that frustrated Anthony Wayne and tired them out.

“That gave us the edge.”

Magnificat continues to play with intensity and physicality, wearing out its opponents throughout this postseason.

“Last week’s game with Medina was so intense, super-fast and physical,” Micklitsch explained. “Today, I felt that we were able to play our game a little bit more.

“Their team didn’t pressure us as much, which allowed us to play our style of soccer even better.”

Magnificat’s Piscioneri recorded five saves in the victory, while Hill had 13 in the loss.

Each team was given a yellow card in the second half for rough play.

Magnificat (16-4-1) played Walsh Jesuit, which defeated Strongsville for the region 1 championship, yesterday in the Division I state semifinals, with the winner moving on to the state championship game Friday at Columbus Crew Stadium.

 

 

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