Central Ohio club soccer teams won only four of the nine boys State Cup finals May 16 at Spindler Park, marking the lowest number of area boys squads to win championships in the event this century.
However, Blast F.C. director and coach Lesh Shkreli, whose boys teams didn't win any State Cup titles this year after winning two in 2009, said there's no reason for Columbus-area soccer enthusiasts to be concerned.
"Columbus teams have won the majority of the boys State Cups over the past decade, but no one can win forever," Shkreli said. "(Four area boys) teams lost in the finals, including our (Under-16) team that finished fifth in the nation last year, or we might have kept it going another year. Columbus teams will be back next year and will be competitive every year."
Team Ohio F.C. continued its run as the most consistently successful central Ohio boys club since 2001, as it won two more State Cup championships. Team Ohio has won a total of 25 State Cup titles over the past 10 years.
The Team Ohio U-15 squad nipped CUP Crew Juniors 2-1 in a final to win its fourth State Cup title, and Team Ohio's U-13 squad beat CUP Crew Juniors 2-1 on penalty kicks to win its second State Cup.
In the U-13 final, Patrick Gualitieri scored during regulation, Eric Rozsits and Ben Swanson scored on penalty kicks and goalkeeper Carter Richardson stopped two penalty kick attempts to lead Team Ohio to victory.
"As a club, it's always exciting when you're lucky enough to win one State Cup, so winning two is outstanding," Team Ohio U-13 coach John Lawrence said.
The Ohio Premier Eagles won two boys State Cup finals, as its U-10 team rallied to defeat Team Ohio 5-4 in double overtime and its U-12 squad beat CUP Real Madrid 5-0.
"This is the first year that Ohio Premier has had boys teams, and we had nine advance to quarterfinals, four advance to semifinals and two win championships," said coach Mike Lawrence, who is John Lawrence's older brother. "(Cincinnati-based) CUP Crew Juniors won five State Cups on the boys side this year, and we're hoping to eventually have that kind of success here."
In the finals, Nicholas Christoff, Jack Holland, Hall Moore, Reese Moore and Cole Heilman scored for the O.P. Eagles' U-12 team, and Luke Kiley and Steven Psychigos each scored two goals and Luke Holland scored one for the O.P. Eagles' U-10 squad.
"That U-10 boys final was the best State Cup game I've seen, and I've been coaching in State Cups for many years," Mike Lawrence said. "We were down 3-0 in the first 10 minutes and we were down 4-3 in the second overtime, before Luke Kiley and Luke Holland scored goals in the second overtime to bring us back. Our goalie, Aiden Jennette, made six saves that a U-10 goalie shouldn't be able to make to keep us in the game."
The Ohio Premier Eagles won two girls State Cup finals, as its U-12 team nipped Warren County United 1-0 and its U-18 squad beat CUP Crew Juniors 2-1 on penalty kicks.
Casey Barrett scored for the O.P. Eagles with two minutes left to send the U-18 final into overtime. The O.P. Eagles then won the shootout 4-2, as Molly Cantwell, Lara Ross, Sarah Gross and Kelly DeNiro scored on penalty kicks and goalkeeper Shannon Flower stopped two penalty kicks.
It was the O.P. Eagles U-18 team's third State Cup title, but first in four years.
"The Cincinnati clubs are bringing several teams together, which was making it more difficult to compete with their bigger teams, so Ohio Premier merged with Eagles S.C. this year and, obviously, it was a success," U-18 girls coach Matt Ogden said. "Through our merger, we have more than 50 teams, and the more kids you can pull from, the more options you have."
The Blast F.C. U-15 girls team was the only other area squad that won a State Cup final, as it beat the O.P. Eagles 1-0 on penalty kicks.
In the shootout, Missy Ward, Courtney Klosterman and Maggie Mayo scored on penalty kicks for the Blast F.C. and goalkeeper Heather Leaufner had a save.
"Both teams played hard and it was a midfield battle with few scoring chances," Blast coach Mohamood Razack said. "We substituted players quite often to stay fresh and I think we wore them down a little bit."
At a glance
Below are the local teams that won State Cup championships May 16 at Spindler Park:
U-10 Ohio Premier Eagles defeated Team Ohio F.C. 5-4 (2OT)
U-12 Ohio Premier Eagles def. CUP Real Madrid 5-0
U-13 Team Ohio F.C. def. CUP Crew Juniors 2-1 on penalty kicks
U-15 Team Ohio F.C. def. CUP Crew Juniors 2-1
U-12 Ohio Premier Eagles def. Warren County United 1-0
U-15 Blast F.C. def. Ohio Premier Eagles 1-0 on penalty kicks
U-18 Ohio Premier Eagles def. CUP Crew Juniors 2-1 on penalty kicks