The weekend of Nov. 11 to 13 was a busy one at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus.

The venue formally known as Columbus Crew Stadium hosted all six Ohio High School Athletic Association soccer championship games over the weekend.

It also hosted one of the biggest games on the American soccer calendar.

The United States men's national team hosted arch rival Mexico Feb. 11 to open the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Over the years, MAPFRE has been very good to the US. In fact, the United States men had never lost at MAPFRE -- until they lost 2-1 to Mexico on Veterans Day. The US men are now 8-3-1 in Columbus.

That loss meant only one team can now claim to be undefeated after playing more than three games at MAPFRE.

That team is Walsh Jesuit girls soccer.

Walsh's record at MAPFRE improved to 10-0 Nov. 12 as the Warriors scored their fifth straight state title with a 2-0 win over Springboro.

The Warriors' five straight titles and 10 overall are both OHSAA soccer records for male or female teams.

That said, Walsh Jesuit coach Dino McIntryre didn't want to talk about history or records after his team won.

"We have amnesia at Walsh after every season," McIntyre said. "After each one, we start working towards the next one."

McIntyre would probably say this team was not the strongest during the Warriors' five-year run of titles.

Walsh had a string of 104 undefeated games -- another OHSAA record -- snapped on Oct. 5 at Mentor Lake Catholic with a 1-0 loss.

McIntyre said he doubted in the middle of the season whether his team was consistent enough to win another state title, in large part because his team was so young. Walsh graduated 11 seniors from its 2015 squad, many of whom are playing college soccer.

McIntyre need not have worried. The kids are quite all right.

Sophomore Bella Rosalina might be the quintessential target forward. While she didn't score in the final, photographer Lisa Scalfaro felt she was the title game's most valuable player because of her constant work up front. Freshman forward Sophia Gorski looks to be a star-in-training as well.

Freshman left winger Kathryn Ramicone played a huge role in the Warriors' postseason run. Her speed and left foot will be driving defenses crazy for the next three years.

Junior midfielder Aubrey Bechter is a tireless worker, whose work rate was rewarded when she scored the first goal in the title game.

While Walsh's defense was led by senior captain Abby Major -- who has committed to play at Belmont University in Tennessee -- the core of Walsh's defense consisted of sophomores Halle Rogers, Lina Feltovich and Maddie Shinaberry, along with freshman goaltender Kiera Sarka.

The young corps provided perhaps the stingiest defense in Ohio. The Warriors gave up a grand total of five goals all season. Walsh outscored its opponents 28-1 in the postseason.

Of course, it never hurts to have a two-time Division I Ohio player of the year on the team.

Senior Sofia Rossi completed her high school career by doing something no player in Ohio high school history has done: Scoring in four straight state title games.

Rossi finished her high school career with five goals in four state championship games. The majority of high school players won't score five goals in their careers, period.

Rossi's strike in the 51st minute may have been the best I've ever seen at the high school level.

Sandwiched between two Springboro defenders, Rossi somehow split the defense, turned, stepped over the ball and smashed a high shot off the bottom of the crossbar. It gave Walsh a 2-0 lead and all but guaranteed the Warriors the title.

McIntyre waited until after the game was over before proclaiming the Wake Forest recruit one of the best in school history. He put Rossi on the same level as former Walsh greats Kristen Weiss and Sandra Yu.

"She is the most humble girl," McIntyre said. "Sofia puts everyone before her. She just wants to make sure the team does well."

While losing Rossi to graduation is huge, she, Major and forward Gaby Young were the only starting seniors who will leave the program this fall.

Could the Warriors continue the run and make it six straight titles?

If McIntyre is right, amnesia has already set in and the young Warriors are working on it.


Phone: 330-541-9442

Facebook: MLeonardRPC