LONDON-In search of their first ever Ohio High School Athletic Association State Championship, Notre Dame broke the net twice in one minute in the first half. By the end of halftime, they had added another third and could start heating up the bus.
The Cougars not only defeated New Albany, but also shut them out with a score of 4-0, barely keeping them away from sophomore goalkeeper Allie Lammers.
Young Peyton Coles scored two goals in the semifinals. Sophomores Avery May and Alison Charleston scored one each. For the coach of the Cougars, it was a whirlwind fall. She married on October 2 and is now Kiersten (Johnson) Roof.
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More than a month later, she won the MND in the state football championship for the first time ever. This is Columbus's honeymoon.
"Once we settle down and play our combo play the way we know it, then things start to flow for us," Ruf said. "We hit the ball and scored continuously."
Compared with MND's 81-minute hike, the Hawks have played 46 minutes in the game and have not been turned away throughout the season. The Cougars have not scored since their 1-1 tie with Milford on October 9. New Albany didn't even dare to make a move this evening.
The Cougars restricted New Albany in the early days, but they didn't have many opportunities of their own. Both of their corner kicks and free kicks failed.
But in less than 17 minutes, the Cougars were struck by lightning twice.
Midfielder Avery May fired a rocket from 34 yards through the night. About a minute later, forward Peyton Kohls passed the ball and MND fans began to step on the aluminum bench.
"I saw the opening ceremony, and KJ (roof) always said that when you see them, you have to take a half chance," May said. "I'm confident, I just tore it off. It went in, energized the whole team and helped us."
With 2:30 left in the half, Coles scored again and the MND fans walked to the stands confidently. Coles will not be able to play in college until next year, but recently promised to sign with Xavier.
The huge lead gave MND a concession, but in fact they have been playing all night. These four goals are the most goals scored by New Albany throughout the season. They have now beaten their opponents 25-0 in six playoff games.
"We want to make sure we maintain the continuity of the shutdown," Roof said. "This is our job, to put pressure very hard, especially when it enters our defensive three-pointer. You give in for a second in a football game, and you have a goal behind the net. This will be in the tournament. kill you."
In his two years as the head coach of the Cougars, Ruf's record is 37-1-1. Last season lost to the then defending champion Lakota West. The cougar took it as a lesson.
"I think this is a point of growth and learning for us," Roof said. "We are back with a better attitude. June, November 12 (Friday) is our goal. We talk about it every day."
Ruf's alma mater Milford, the Eastern Conference champion of Cincinnati, tied the Cougars 1-1 in the regular season.
New Albany dropped to 15-3-2. This is their first loss since their 3-2 loss to Olentangy Orange on September 30.
MND is now playing the Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit at the Columbus crew’s new home, Lower.com Field, at 4pm on Friday night. On Tuesday night, the Walsh Jesuit beat Whitehouse Anthony Wayne 1-0 while MND played in London.
"We never thought we would go this far," Coles said. "We keep saying,'Let's start speaking; let's start speaking. We can do this!' It's a completely different experience to actually get there."
The Walsh Jesuit is a 10-time state champion, and the Cougars hope to bring their first state football hardware back to Reading.
"It's been a crazy year, but it's fun," Ruf said.