Everything went according to plan for the DeSales High School boys soccer team Nov. 11, and not just because it won its seventh Division II state championship with a 4-0 victory over Bay Village Bay at Mapfre Stadium.
Nick Fuchs scored two goals, Hector Gomez overcame recent injury issues to provide three assists, and the Stallions used their speed and depth to take early control against the Rockets and never let up in winning their third state title in four years.
“Every game, we had a focus of knocking teams out early,” DeSales coach Domenic Romanelli said. “Bay just didn’t have an answer. We went right at them early. I’ve never been in a final quite like this.”
DeSales finished 22-0-1, wrapping up the second undefeated season in program history and its first since 1992. The Stallions outscored their opponents 38-0 in seven postseason games and 102-8 on the season.
DeSales is 4-0 all-time against Bay in state finals, also having won in 2009, 2014 and 2015. Each of the first three games were decided by 1-0 scores.
Mike Cockerell’s goal into the right corner of the net from 25 yards opened the scoring 17 minutes in, and Gomez assisted Fuchs’ first goal on a crossing pass to the left side of the net six minutes later to make it 2-0.
Hector Gomez’s second assist came on a goal by Cristian Gomez that gave the Stallions a 3-0 lead with 3:52 left in the first half.
Hector Gomez had been limited since suffering a high left ankle sprain Nov. 1 during the first half of a 6-0 win over Warsaw River View in a regional semifinal and had played only about two minutes since then.
On Nov. 11, he logged about 57 minutes and left to a standing ovation.
“I woke up this morning and I felt so much better than I have. On this stage, I had to come out and play,” Gomez said. “(Bay) gave us a lot of space. They didn’t mark me tight. They gave me a lot of space to work.”
Goalkeeper Sam Nortz made five saves for Bay, which finished 17-5-1 and had a 16-game winning streak snapped. DeSales goalie Chase Agin had just one save in recording the team’s 17th shutout of the season.