Mason junior forward Jack Clark verbally committed to UC, according to Mason soccer coach Paul Reedy.
Clark, The Enquirer Division I player of the year last season, had 20 goals and nine assists for the Comets.
He was first-team all-Greater Miami Conference, the conference’s player of the year, first-team all-district and first-team all-state. Clark also had interest from Kentucky, Dayton and Lehigh, according to Reedy.
Mason junior guard Jenna Gunn verbally committed to play at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, according to Mason coach Rob Matula.
Gunn was a District 15 Coaches’ Association underclassmen selection, first-team all-Greater Miami Conference and Associated Press Division I special mention all-district. She averaged 12.9 points and 5.8 rebounds for the Comets last season.
CUP U15 Gold player Gary Zhao has been selected to the roster for the upcoming U.S. Soccer Under-15 Boys National team training camp in California.
Zhao, a standout for Cincinnati United Soccer Club, just returned from Costa Rica this past week where he competed with the Region 2 Olympic Development Program (ODP) team against Central American teams.
“We are very proud of Gary for being selected to the Under-15 Boys National Team training camp,” said CUP Boys Interim Director of Coaching Bobby Puppione. “He has had a tremendous last 12 months as he has led his CUP team to a place in the USYS National League, was named one of the “Best XI” at the ODP Interregionals, and now has earned a spot at next month’s National Team training camp. We are looking forward to seeing Gary shine on the national stage.”
The training camp will run from March 23 to March 31 in Carson, CA.
“Gary is a very talented player in our high school soccer program at Mason,” Mason coach Paul Reedy said. ”He plays center midfield and we are very happy for him and proud of his outstanding achievement. We look forward to his next three years of high school soccer.”
Crossbars and posts can be a goalie’s best friend. If not for those, the Mason Comets appeared primed to win the Ohio State Girls Division I State Soccer Championship here Friday night.
Instead, they lost to Perrysburg 1-0, in the wildest, craziest, keep-coming-at-you state championship soccer game Columbus has seen in a long while.
“Only nine saves?” somebody in the press box asked afterward. “It seems like she made nine hundred.”
The reference was to Penn State-bound senior goalie Chloe Buehler, who had her hands full –literally.
What she couldn’t pick off, the posts and crossbars did.
There were two such occurrences in the first half, two more in the second.
“They (the Comets) had two or three opportunities that I thought for sure were going to end up in the net,” said Perrysburg coach Jorge Diaz, whose team finished 23-0-0, ranked first in the state and second nationally. “A hand here, a crossbar there. Luck was with us.”
Diaz singled out Mason’s “Number 8″ and “Number 15,” as being particularly hard to stop, and said nobody came at his team all year the way Mason did.
“Overall, they had a tougher bracket to get here than we did, although the last couple of games – Strongsville and Medina – were tough for us,” Diaz said.
No. 8, that would be Jami Pfeifer, a senior forward.
“Give her an inch, and she’s going to take it all the way through,” Diaz said.
No. 15, that would be Jill Vetere, a sophomore forward.
“I had somebody on her the second half, but the coach was moving her from one side to the other, attacking,” Diaz said.
The Mason girls knew they were going to have their hands (and feet and heads and minds) full with Perrysburg’s Maddy Williams.
And, did they ever.
To their credit, they largely negated her except for the successful first-half penalty kick with 15 minutes to go in the first half that was the difference.
Who can blame the Comets for having fouled her? At the time, she was engaged in a whirling dervish extravaganza in front of the goal, in which the Comets did everything to dislodge the ball from her. Finally, wham!.
The feeling one had was at that very instant was that Williams was going to score unless somebody fouled her.
“My attitude is you have to finish your chances, because you never know if that might be the only one you get,” Williams said.
And so, they fouled her, and she scored, anyway.
It was her 48th goal of the season.
“I liked her attitude inside the 18,” Mason coach Andy Schur said. “She was so persistent. You maybe could knock her off the ball, but she was right back on top of you. And with her back to the goal, really tough to defend.”
Williams, too, agreed, that it was the Yellow Jackets night.
“We had luck on our side,” she said. “They (the Comets) have a really well-organized back line. They play great together. They’re physical, but not to the point it gets out of control.”
Other than that one goal Friday night, these were two very evenly matched teams at Crew Stadium. Mason was more the aggressor: 26 shots to Perrysburg’s 6; 9 shot to 5 on goal, respectively.
“The best team we’ve played,” Perrysburg’s Diaz said.
Mason beat three of the top 11 teams in the state to reach the state final, and finished 20-2-1.
Mason hadn’t given up more than two goals in any soccer game this season. Olentangy Liberty had scored three or more goals in 17 of its 21 games coming into Wednesday night’s Division I state semifinal at Miami Valley South Stadium.
Mason maintained its stat but it wasn’t enough to push the Comets to a state championship game appearance.
Senior forward Jared Robinson’s shot from 10 yards in front of the net found the back of the goal with 4:44 remaining in regulation to give Olentangy Liberty a 1-0 victory and send the Patriots back to the state final for a second straight season.
Mason, ranked No. 10 in the final state coaches’ poll, was playing in its first state semifinal. The Comets end their season 18-3-1. Second-ranked Liberty improves to 21-1 and will face unranked Sylvania Southview (17-3-2) Saturday night at 7 at Columbus Crew Stadium.
Robinson, who gave up playing for the Columbus Crew’s academy team to join continue playing for his high school team, mishit an initial shot attempt. The Mason defense couldn’t clear the ball, however, and it ended up back on his foot. Mason senior goalkeeper Pedro Diaz moved in the right direction but Robinson buried the shot into the upper left corner.
“It comes down to they were on us a lot of the time and they were going to get past us at some point,” said Diaz. “I think we gave 100 percent. It was wonderful. Everyone gave their best. We just got unlucky.”
Senior forward Jami Pfeifer scored one minute, 36 seconds into the first sudden victory overtime period Tuesday night to give Mason a 1-0 win against Pickerington North at Miami Valley South Stadium and send the Comets to the Division I state soccer finals for the first time in school history.
Pfeifer scored her 18th goal of the season with a blast from the right side about 15 yards away from the goal. The ball got past Pickerington North goalie Heather Laeufer in an instant and handed the Panthers (19-1-2) their first loss of the season.
“I was getting stormed by my team and the ball was in the net,” said Pfeifer. “I saw the ball go in, then my mind went blank and I just fell to the ground.
“I wasn’t sure where it was going. I was in the moment and it’s one of those things where you don’t know how it happens, it just happens.”
Mason will take its 20-1-1 records into Friday’s 7 p.m. state championship game at Columbus Crew Stadium against No. 1-ranked Perrysburg (22-0). The Comets were unranked in the final state coaches’ poll but in this tournament they have now beaten three ranked teams (No. 11 Troy, No. 7 Centerville, No. 5 Pickerington North) and avenged their lone loss of the season against Ursuline in the regional final.
Mason was making its first appearance in the state semifinals while Pickerington North was in its third state tournament. The Panthers were state runners-up in 2010.
Pickerington North had beaten No. 2 Dublin Coffman and No. 8 Dublin Jerome 1-0 each in its regional tournament. The regional final against Jerome went to two overtimes.
The Mason Comets, ranked first in the Enquirer area Division I coaches’ poll, defeated Centerville 2-0 in the Division I girls’ soccer regional semifinals behind a stand out performance from senior Jami Pfeifer.
After a scoreless first half, senior Sami Rutowski scored just three minutes into the second half off of an assist from Pfeifer to give the Comets a 1-0 advantage.
Mason’s defense, powered by a seven-save effort from goalkeeper Toni Bizzarro, continued to stifle the Elks throughout the second half. Then with only three minutes remaining in the game, Pfeifer netted a penalty kick to seal the deal for the Comets.
This marks the 14th time this season that Mason has blanked their opponent. Bizzarro, a freshman, has been a part of all 14 shutouts by the Comets.
Mason improves to 18-1-1 with the victory, and Centerville closes out the year with an impressive record of 16-3-1.
The Comets advance to play Ursuline at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Lakota East High School.
Paul Reedy forewarned his Mason soccer players that the St. Xavier defense was going to make it hard to get the ball to junior forward Jack Clark. The Bombers did exactly that, but Clark made the most of the one time he broke free.
Clark powered a pass from senior midfielder Michael Marino into the upper left corner of the net four minutes, 13 seconds into sudden-victory overtime to give the Comets a 2-1 win in the Division I regional semifinals Wednesday night at Lakota East.
Clark’s 20th goal of the season advances Mason into Saturday’s noon regional final against Greater Miami Conference rival Lakota West at a site to be determined. It is the first regional final appearance for Mason in its third trip to the regional tournament.
“I just saw the ball go wide to Michael and everyone drifted to his side so I found myself wide open and called for it,” said Clark. “He played a good ball and I finally got a shot off.”
St. Xavier goalie Micah Bledsoe had no chance at stopping the shot.
Mason, ranked No. 1 in the final Enquirer coaches’ poll and No. 10 in the final state coaches’ poll, improves to 17-2-1.
The Comets have now won 14 times in their last 15 games since suffering a 1-0 defeat against Centerville on Sept. 8. They avenged that loss with a 4-1 victory against the Elks in the district finals.
Mason High School’s athletic office announced its athletes of the week. This week’s honorees are cheerleader Lauren Harris and soccer standout Sami Rutowski.
Lauren Harris, a senior on the varsity football cheerleading team, has strived to become a better athlete and teammate all season and is a “pleasure to work with,” say her coaches.
Sami Rutowski, a senior on the Mason girls’ soccer team, is described as a “tremendous leader on and off the field all year” and an integral part of the Lady Comets’ success, say her coaches. A selfless team player, coaches say Sami has been a force in the midfield for other teams to reckon with and her work ethic is unparalleled.
Mason scored two quick goals and then maintained ball possession and offensive pressure throughout in a 3-0 victory against Mercy Tuesday night in a Division I girls’ soccer sectional final at Winton Woods.
Junior Alex Niehoff and sophomore Jill Vetere scored 28 seconds apart from each other in the opening three minutes of the game to set the tone of the match. Freshman goalie Toni Bizzarro made eight saves as Mason recorded its 12th shutout of the season and advanced to a district championship match against Troy Saturday at 2 p.m. at Lakota East.
Troy beat Springboro 1-0 in overtime Tuesday night.
The Comets, ranked No. 1 in the final Enquirer Division I area coaches’ poll and No. 1 seed in the Cincinnati sectional, are now 16-1-1. Mercy, the No. 9 seed, ends its season at 10-4-4.
“Those goals were huge. I always think when you’re the quote-unquote favorite in a game like this the weight of the world comes off of you when you score early,” said Mason coach Andy Schur. “We played relaxed the rest of the time. You can get a little tight in games like this and I was proud of how we reacted in not giving up a ton of chances. We stayed sound defensively and didn’t let them come back from 2-0. That can change quickly.”
The Mason girls’ soccer team earned its fourth GMC title Tuesday with a 3-2 won over Lakota East.
The game, which coincided with Senior Night at Mason, saw senior Madison Melnick score two goals, including the game-winner, with less than a minute of play remaining.
“Winning any league championship is a tough thing to do, but it is even tougher when you are battling the teams in the GMC,” said Mason head coach Andy Schur. “The players have made the Mason soccer community very proud in the way they have represented their school and themselves.”
Sophomore Rachel Holloway scored the first goal for Mason about 14 minutes in, with an assist from Melnick. About four minutes later, Melnick added an unassisted goal to put Mason 2-0.
Lakota scored the next two goals to even the score going into halftime.
The second half saw the Comets put 10 shots on goal, but it was Melnick who scored the game-winning goal with just 52 seconds on the clock.
Mason finished GMC play with a conference record of 8-0-1, ahead of second-place Oak Hills with 6-0-3. The Comets are ranked No. 1 in city rankings and No. 7 in Div. I state polls.
“We are incredibly proud of the effort and determination our players showed in winning the league championship this year,” said Schur. “They have fought through adversity and been champions in every sense of the word.”
Mason will play a nonconference game, which is also their final regular season game, Thursday night, 10/11, at Anderson (4-10-0, 3-3-0). They host the winner of the Princeton/Northwest match at 2 p.m. Oct. 20.