COLUMBUS – The size of the field, the venue and the moment were all factors in Cleveland St. Ignatius’ 4-0 win over the Olentangy Liberty boys soccer team Sunday night.
Everett Shorey scored three goals to help the Wildcats run away with a 4-0 victory to capture the program’s state-record ninth state championship in the Division I state final at Mapfre Stadium.
“It’s always special,” said 25th-year St. Ignatius coach Mike McLaughlin, who has coached the Wildcats to all nine of their championships. “We created the toughest schedule we could in the country to get us prepared for tonight and I’m really glad it paid off.
“In the biggest moment on the biggest stage – I think these guys played their greatest game of the season and that’s all you can ask for.”
One of those was a 1-0 win over Liberty in the regular-season finale Oct. 12 in Cleveland.
“We knew they were really good and that we’d have to play really well to put ourselves in a position to win,” Olentangy Liberty coach Marc D’Auteuil said. “It’s so hard on this stage – on this field – to know exactly what you’re going to get from everybody. There were some kids tonight that maybe struggled with being on this stage and being in this type of game.”
The field was bigger, which helped St. Ignatius spread out and forced the Liberty defense to cover more ground.
“The field made a big difference,” McLaughlin said. “This field is a lot bigger and we could pick them apart to do things that we wanted to do to find open channels. But when you play in the state final – whatever happened in the past – often times goes out the door.”
Shorey scored the first one off a Danny Kalic lead pass at the 20:37 mark of the first half.
“Everett Shorey has had an incredible season,” McLaughlin said. “He scored his 30th goal tonight. So, to have somebody that can put the ball in the back of the net – everything’s different.”
Luciano Petchota drew the goalie on the right side before centering to Shorey, who scored into a wide-open net with 1:16 left in the half.
“That was a back-breaker,” D’Auteuil said. “There was a minute left and we had a chance to get to halftime and get organized.”
Nick Russo stole the ball at midfield and touched to Shorey, who beat the goalie one-on-one to push the lead to three with 28:08 left in the game. Ian Sugar, who set up the play, was credited with a secondary assist.
“I thought we came out in the second half with some fight,” D’Auteuil said. “But then we made another mistake and it led to 3-0 and that was it.”
Adam Karman stepped in front of a clearing attempt in the box and scored off a ball that was deflected to push the St. Ignatius lead to 4-0 with 15:02 left.
“We made three mistakes all game and they led to three goals,” D’Auteuil said.
Ludwig Conrad had all three of Liberty’s shots on goal. Theren Handlon had one save in goal for the Patriots (19-3-1).
Peter Van Euwan had two saves and Liam Sowell had one for the Wildcats (21-0-2).