by MICHAEL LEONARD | SPORTS EDITOR
Columbus — The Division II state title game between Walsh Jesuit and Columbus St. Francis DeSales pitted two of the most successful girls soccer programs in Ohio history against each other.
DeSales was the defending Division II state champion and was looking to tie Walsh’s five state titles as the most in state history.
However, this one left no doubt who the better squad was.
Walsh’s offense hit on all cylinders, as the Warriors routed the Stallions 5-0 in the Division II state title game Nov. 9 at Columbus Crew Stadium.
Walsh set a couple records in the win as the Warriors finished unbeaten with a 21-0-2 record this season. DeSales finished at 15-8-1.
The five-goal margin was the widest in state title game history.
Also, Walsh’s sixth state title gives the Warriors the most of any Ohio high school soccer program, male or female.
The statistics show how dominant Walsh was: The Warriors finished with a 21-2 edge in shots, including a 13-2 edge in shots on goal. Walsh also had a 10-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Walsh goalkeeper Libby Grace needed to make only two saves in the game, each of which was a long-range effort from the Stallions.
DeSales was able to keep things level early despite constant pressure from Walsh. Stallions goalie Katerina Barrett made some nice saves early and finished with eight saves on the night.
However, Walsh opened the scoring in the 17th minute off a corner kick.
Midfielder Abbey Filicko sent a ball toward the back post from the corner, which forward Maddie John headed home.
Kithcart missed her intended target, but the ball went over Barrett’s head and bounced into the goal in the 27th minute.
If Kithcart’s goal was lucky, Yu’s final goal as a Warrior in the 29th minute was a thing of beauty.
Filicko provided the assist again, this time by lofting a ball from just outside the box, which allowed Yu to run onto it.
Yu got to the ball before Barrett could react and headed it in. Walsh took the 3-0 lead into halftime.
Walsh didn’t take its foot off the gas early in the second half.
Yu turned provider in the 47th minute, as she worked a give-and-go with forward Kennedy Payne, which allowed Payne to go one-on-one with Barrett. Payne smashed the ball into the net to make it 4-0.
John closed out the scoring in the 56th minute, thanks to a sweet crossing ball by midfielder Julie Knapp.