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Season that Re16ned

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  Girls soccer competes in the state soccer championship for the first time since 1996. It has been a long road for the girls and there has been much success.

  The Lady Tigers finished with a 15-1 record in the regular season. “That was one of my favorite memories of the season,” said senior Keeley Malone, “After we won the CVC, Mr. Passalacqua gave us each a $10 dollar gift card to Mitchell’s ice cream. It was a tasty treat.”

  Winning the CVC and having a 15-1 record in the regular season secured the tigers the second seed in the playoffs. They first had to get through the sectional round. They blew through the first two teams by outscoring the team’s 21-0.

  Moving on to districts, they first played Lake Catholic in the district semi-finals. This was a special game because in the previous year, they lost to them in the playoffs. This was also their only loss in the regular season. The tigers would not let this happen again. They won a resounding game 1-0. Five days later, they won the district championship against Archbishop Hoban 4-0.
  “To be honest, I did not think we were going to make it this far,” said junior Maddie Miralia, “In May, some of the team and I were talking, and we did not think we were going to make it this far.”

  The Tigers got through the Regional Championship with a bit of a scare. Senior Keeley Malone shot a dagger with only little time left to give the Tigers the lead and eventually the win over Hathaway Brown.

  “That game was one of my favorite memories of the season,” said Coach Pamela Malone, “they had beaten us 3 times in the regional finals in the past, the fact that Keeley scored the winning goal in the last couple minutes of the game to beat them, made it that much better!”

  In the State semis, they beat Bay 1-0 in a thriller of a game. The Tigers were headed to the state championship.

  Senior soccer players knew they would not be successful in their season if they did not improve their team chemistry. “[We] seniors sat down together in the offseason to talk about what we need to worry about this season,” said Keeley, “team chemistry was the number one priority for us.”

  Other members of the team believed this as well. “I believe team chemistry is what lead to our success this year,” said Miralia, “We went to the University of Indiana in the summer, and that was a big time bonding experience. While we were there, we learned more about each other and ourselves.”

  Before the state championship, the girls got in a circle like they do before every game.

  However, Coach Malone had a special thing to say before this game: “You play with unity of purpose and heart,” said Malone, “We are not champions by accident, but because we do things that others believe to be boring or too difficult. That is how you become a champion, by doing what others don’t want to do…train 6-7 days week, give up the summer month of August to get our edge on other teams.”

  Although the Tigers lost in the Championship game, that does not mean it was a bad season for them. “If every team gauged their season on their last game, every team would be dealing with a loss, except the state champion,” said Malone. “Although we didn’t win, the experience of playing on the Columbus Crew field, the awesome community/fan support and realizing a team goal was just amazing! I told the players, “It’s about the journey, not the destination” we had an unbelievable season!”

  When Keeley was asked how it felt to make it to the championship in her final year, she said, “It is an unbelievable feeling, and I wouldn’t want to do it with any other team of ladies.”

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