POSTED BY EDWARD HANNON PATRICK DWYER
Saint Ignatius (20-1) enters the semifinals on a 15-game winning streak. The Wildcats, who have won 43 of their past 44 games, are seeking their third state championship in four seasons and what would be a record fifth boys’ state title in Ohio soccer.
Under Coach McLaughlin, the ‘Cats have brought home state-championship trophies in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010. McLaughlin also guided his program to national titles in 2005 and 2010.
Saint Ignatius has won three consecutive games in Golden Goal overtime – a 1-0, double-overtime victory over St. Edward in the district finals, a 1-0 overtime triumph over Massillon Jackson in the regional semifinals and a 2-1 Golden Goal thriller over Mayfield in Saturday’s regional title game at Rocky River.
Copley (15-2-4) advanced to the final four by defeating Toledo St. John’s Jesuit, 3-2, in Saturday’s regional final at Bay. Counting ties, the Indians are unbeaten in 16 consecutive matches. Copley jumped out to a 3-0 lead against St. John’s. The Titans closed to 3-2 by halftime, but the Indians’ defense stood tall over the final 40 minutes.
Coach Dave Antal’s team played most of the match against St. John’s down a player because of a red card. Copley was the Class A-AA state runner-up in 1984 and the Division II state champion in 1994. Coach Antal was a member of that ’94 team.
Saint Ignatius has not lost to an Ohio team since the 1-0 shoot-out setback to Gahanna Lincoln in the 2009 big-school state championship game. En route to state and national championships last season, the Wildcats were 23-0 and their only loss this season came over Labor Day Weekend to Louisville (KY) St. Xavier, 2-0 on Wasmer Field.