Congrats to the STATE CHAMPIONS! -- Why'd they win?

SirStanley

Well-known member
Amazing that we made it through the fall season after what happened last spring (and winter post-season). Much great soccer.

Congrats to the three state champions...St. Ignatius, Howland, and Mariemont...who all turned 1-goal second half leads into runaways of dominating (and often beautiful) soccer. We have two first-time winners...and the first ten-time winner.

Looking to the yappi soccer community for thoughts: why'd they win? What can and can't be mimicked by other aspiring soccer programs?
 

eaglepride

Well-known member
The support from AZ was enough to propel St. Ignatius to another championship. Shout out to him and his support from Arizona. He called it too which was such a long shot!
 

arizonawildcat

Well-known member
Thanks for the recognition. Look for a trifecta next year, but not an undefeated season. The Cats will sometime have an off day. Keep your eye on the sophomore Spicer. He definitely Div. 1 material.
 

SirStanley

Well-known member
Thanks for the recognition. Look for a trifecta next year, but not an undefeated season. The Cats will sometime have an off day. Keep your eye on the sophomore Spicer. He definitely Div. 1 material.
I've followed St. Ignatius since the late 90's when they came down to Centerville for a regular season game between #1 and #2 in the nation (Centerville took a 1-0 lead...which lasted about 30 seconds...and St. Ignatius won 3-1). Obviously, they've lost games here and there (though less and less frequently as time goes on). I can only remember a single time that the team had what I would call an "off day," and that was when they lost in a state semifinal to Medina in 2017 on a 50-yard own goal (pass back to the keeper on a very slick field). Even then, it took an extraordinary opponent to defeat the Wildcats. The team's brilliance is matched by its consistency. I expect the undefeated season will depend upon how they do against St. Benedict's.
 

arizonawildcat

Well-known member
This was the first year that I can recall where Ignatius played only Ohio teams. The Cats usually traveled two or three games a year. I suspect Covid will determine their schedule.
 
This was the first year that I can recall where Ignatius played only Ohio teams. The Cats usually traveled two or three games a year. I suspect Covid will determine their schedule.
They had, if I recall correctly, a DC-area trip this year originally on the schedule. That obviously got cancelled due to COVID. Each year, they usually have one weekend trip to play two top level teams (last year to the Chicago area) and often bring in a top ranked out of state team, like St. Benedict last year. They had to piece together their 14 game season this year. At one point, I think they were down to 10 or 11 games.
 

Wildcats1886

Active member
I've followed St. Ignatius since the late 90's when they came down to Centerville for a regular season game between #1 and #2 in the nation (Centerville took a 1-0 lead...which lasted about 30 seconds...and St. Ignatius won 3-1). Obviously, they've lost games here and there (though less and less frequently as time goes on). I can only remember a single time that the team had what I would call an "off day," and that was when they lost in a state semifinal to Medina in 2017 on a 50-yard own goal (pass back to the keeper on a very slick field). Even then, it took an extraordinary opponent to defeat the Wildcats. The team's brilliance is matched by its consistency. I expect the undefeated season will depend upon how they do against St. Benedict's.
Nice recap, but I think the game you are thinking of was in 2005, Ignatius’ first national championship season with the All American trio of Barry Rice, Mark Blades, and Justin Morrow. Ignatius had some success in the late 90s / early 2000s, but didn’t break through at the state level until 2004.
 

SirStanley

Well-known member
Nice recap, but I think the game you are thinking of was in 2005, Ignatius’ first national championship season with the All American trio of Barry Rice, Mark Blades, and Justin Morrow. Ignatius had some success in the late 90s / early 2000s, but didn’t break through at the state level until 2004.
Argh! You’re probably right. I do remember being at the first St. Ignatius championship game, which may have been the only one where they were underdogs. We’re facing defending champion from Columbus which hadn’t allowed a single goal in two straight tournaments...until losing that final 1-0. Too many years to keep track of! Thanks for the correction.
 

Gview

Active member
2005 had all 3 on 1st Team All State. 1. Blades 2. Murrow 6. Rice, with Blades and Murrow being High School All Americans if my memory is right.
 

SirStanley

Well-known member
2005 had all 3 on 1st Team All State. 1. Blades 2. Murrow 6. Rice, with Blades and Murrow being High School All Americans if my memory is right.
Only time in state history that 3 1st team all-state players from same school? Looking at state championship list, I see St. Ignatius first title in 2004 over defending champ Westerville North.
 

shoprat2

Member
Sir Stanley if you thought you need the recipe for success that St.I or even Tipp had and you thought you could repeat that formula you might still be coaching. To have a team playing at that level is such a mystery,it involves having the right players and parents with the right coaches and no small amount of luck alll coming together in the right place and the right time. We have been around long enough to say we know of some excellent team that never made it out of district because of a super team in that district.. next year everyone else is a little down and you find yourself in a championship game with a weaker team than some of your others. But if you find the formula that guarantees wins,patent that thing cause you could get real rich.
 

Wildcats1886

Active member
Only time in state history that 3 1st team all-state players from same school? Looking at state championship list, I see St. Ignatius first title in 2004 over defending champ Westerville North.
Ignatius may have done that again on some lists in 2015 with Stephen Milhoan, Lawrence Karpeh, and Hunter Gordon. I think all three were named All Americans by various sources (but maybe not all by the same publication).
 

Gview

Active member
Hunter Gordon was not listed on any State team 1st or 2nd in 2015, that is not to say he wasn't deserving. Milhoan was D1 POY, while Karpeh was also 1st Team selection.
 

Salad76

Active member
Amazing that we made it through the fall season after what happened last spring (and winter post-season). Much great soccer.

Congrats to the three state champions...St. Ignatius, Howland, and Mariemont...who all turned 1-goal second half leads into runaways of dominating (and often beautiful) soccer. We have two first-time winners...and the first ten-time winner.

Looking to the yappi soccer community for thoughts: why'd they win? What can and can't be mimicked by other aspiring soccer programs?
A couple things:

Whereas in the past teams were apt to sit back and defend as long as possible even if it meant extra time, this years group of champions just kept coming and coming and coming. The pressure was on and mistakes were punished.

While the girls games involved some closer games with teams with similar ideas the boys games seemed to all feature one team wanting to kill off the game while the other was really pushing all game. In Iggy's case that damn broke early. In Howland and Mariemont's cases it broke open right before the half and the flood gates really opened in the second half.

Not that those teams weren't also good defensively. Howland, Iggy and Mariemont combined to concede only 32 goals all year in 67 games.

It made for some very entertaining games to watch where we got to see some excellent players really shine on the biggest of stages.

As far as what can other programs do?

While I'm not sure every team has the players or desire to attack the way these teams did, I think it should open the eyes of coaches that playing not to lose gets you only so far. You don't have to come out and attack for 80 minutes, but I think you need a plan B where being able to switch things up midstream for stretches can make you even harder to beat. Too many defense first teams give up a goal and seem to have no idea how to get that goal back.
 

SirStanley

Well-known member
A couple things:

Whereas in the past teams were apt to sit back and defend as long as possible even if it meant extra time, this years group of champions just kept coming and coming and coming. The pressure was on and mistakes were punished.

While the girls games involved some closer games with teams with similar ideas the boys games seemed to all feature one team wanting to kill off the game while the other was really pushing all game. In Iggy's case that damn broke early. In Howland and Mariemont's cases it broke open right before the half and the flood gates really opened in the second half.

Not that those teams weren't also good defensively. Howland, Iggy and Mariemont combined to concede only 32 goals all year in 67 games.

It made for some very entertaining games to watch where we got to see some excellent players really shine on the biggest of stages.

As far as what can other programs do?

While I'm not sure every team has the players or desire to attack the way these teams did, I think it should open the eyes of coaches that playing not to lose gets you only so far. You don't have to come out and attack for 80 minutes, but I think you need a plan B where being able to switch things up midstream for stretches can make you even harder to beat. Too many defense first teams give up a goal and seem to have no idea how to get that goal back.
Love the response, Salad76.

There's no question that the winning teams this year displayed superior attacks (alongside excellent defenses). I'm slower to judge their opposition with the phrase of "killing off the game" for a few reasons.

1.) Teams being put on the backs of their feet often don't have the same talent as their opponents. I've become a big fan of Howland over the past few weeks (watching many YouTube videos of their team through the past several seasons). Nonetheless, in their regional semifinal win against Bay, it was said that Howland recorded 0 shots on goal for the entire game (lone goal of the game was scored on a highly disputed penalty kick). I doubt Howland went into the game with the desire to park the bus, but that was what they did to win.

2.) In two of the girls games (D2 and D3), the seemingly weaker overall teams (heavily outshot and even more heavily outpossessed) ended up winning the games. To be fair, the winning teams -- Madison Comprehensive and Kirtland -- both had the best offensive individual player in their respective games, but if those championship games were played multiple times, I could see highly different outcomes with similar criticisms of the losing squads (Madison and Granville did tie 2-2 in the regular season; in both of their games Granville failed to convert a pk).

3.) Speaking from personal experience, my team won a state championship in what may have been the statistically dullest state final in history. We ended up winning a 0-0 pk shootout. The previous 22 games, we were always on the attack. Even in our tight regional final and state semifinal wins, I would say we carried the play (our opponents may beg to differ). In the final, we played a CVCA team with an extraordinary defense and ahead of their time possession. Combined with the wide Crew field, we spent 100 minutes chasing the ball and defending with 11. We had only one good chance the entire game (CVCA had only one in regulation...but two great chances in overtime). We did what we had to do. (When we repeated the following season, despite being a weaker team, we were much more on the offensive.)

I realize my three points are all essentially the same. It's hard to attack when the other team is stronger than you are. But I would also acknowledge that the game is improving, and maybe superior teams now more than ever are able to avoid upsets that were more possible 10-20 years ago (though Mariemont was losing with 6 minutes to go in a sectional final against Cincinnati Country Day; credit to them for being able to come back from being down 2 goals). And the possibilities of a blowout in the state final are increasing. If you want to have that Plan B, you'd better have a lot of players working on their skills and athleticism between now and next November.
 

BlackHawk

Well-known member
... The previous 22 games, we were always on the attack. Even in our tight regional final and state semifinal wins, I would say we carried the play (our opponents may beg to differ). In the final, we played a CVCA team with an extraordinary defense and ahead of their time possession. Combined with the wide Crew field, we spent 100 minutes chasing the ball and defending with 11. ...
I'm no soccer expert or coach, but just a casual soccer fan. I followed Kettering Alter fairly close from the early-1990's to late-2000's because I knew a member of their coaching staff. Almost every game I attended involved Alter. Your comments remind me of the 2007 D2 State Championship game: Alter vs. Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit. For their first 22 games, Alter was always on the attack, but not this day at Crew Stadium. Alter was on their heels and chased the ball most of the game against a much better Walsh Jesuit team. On one hand, it was hard for me to believe and frustrating to see, but on the other it was a real treat watching Walsh Jesuit. They had a tremendous midfielder by the name of Michael Nanchoff (later of Akron Zips and MLS fame). We lost 2-0, but to a better team...no shame. I thought, "Now I know what other teams fans feel like when they play against Alter."

I also get a kick out of opposing fans comments like this, "Wow, we've never played this bad before! Why did have to pick the game against Alter to look so bad?" lol.

Sometimes the better teams dictate the play.

SirStanley, may I ask, where did you coach? Madeira?
 
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