The Magnificat soccer team completely dominated Westlake right from the start in the OHSAA Division I district championship match Saturday at Rocky River Stadium. That effort allowed the Blue Streaks to come away with a 6-0 decision and advance to the regional round.
The Blue Streaks, now 14-4-1, advance to the regional semifinals Tuesday where they will face Medina, a 1-0 winner over Copley in the Brusnwick District title game.
Magnificat was led by senior forward Natalie Coury, who netted a hat trick in the win.
"It feels so great right now," Coury said. "We've always had a pretty solid team, but never made it this far in the playoffs.
"I feel we are peaking at the right time, and hopefully we stay hot like this and go as far as we can," she said.
"I said at the beginning of the season, that our goal was to peak at the right time," Magnificat head coach Gretchen Micklitsch said.
"We did a lot of things to try to do that," she said. "You never know if you're going to, and I feel that we had a string of games where the ball wasn't going into the net. Suddenly, it happened.
"We peaked, the ball started to find the net and things are starting to happen the way we envisioned. The timing is perfect," she said.
The scoring barrage was started off by senior midfielder Jaycie Brown, who put in the first Magnificat goal past Westlake net-minder Alexis Carpenter in the eighth minute of the game.
Coury followed that up with the first of her three goals just two minutes later, and the Blue Streaks were off to the races. Sophomore midfielder Anne Ubbing and freshman forward Kelsey Matyi each added goals to give the Blue Streaks a 4-0 advantage at halftime.
Coury scored her second goal on a break-away in the 60th minute. That forced Westlake head coach Scott Jones to make a change in net as he put in Mackenzie Maynard for the remainder of the game. Coury then capped the scoring with her third goal, that one coming in the 74th minute of the game.
"I had a really hard time scoring in the middle of the regular season, but now it's just coming for me," Coury explained.
Magnificat goalkeeper Kaleigh Piscioneri tallied 12 saves in the shutout.
"It's just so exciting to shut Westlake out both times we met this year," Piscioneri said. "It was a tough game. I know we took them, but they had a lot of shots. They kept coming at us really hard the entire game."
"Kayleigh is so solid. I'm so glad I'm going to have her for another year," Micklitsch said. "She's really important to our success."
Magnificat was able to get 21 shots on net in the game, while Westlake had 12.
"Magnificat is a real nice team," Jones said.
"With them having so much team speed and so many quality players, we didn't really match up well with them. They were able to exploit our mistakes and they took advantage of them.
"We have to give it to them, they obviously deserved to win," he said.
Jones was hoping his team could score early in the second half to turn the tide of the game.
"We wanted to stop their momentum, and then you never know what could happen. But it was not meant to be today," he said.
Micklitsch was able to sub-in many rotations during the match, preparing all the girls for the regional semifinal game against second-seeded Medina.
"I was able to get everyone in, even the three girls we pulled up from junior varsity," she said. "I was able to play all of my seniors, so it's a really nice feeling.
"I never really thought that I'd get to do that in this game, at this stage of the postseason," she added.
The regional semifinal game will be played Tuesday at 7 p.m., either at Rocky River High School or Bay Memorial Stadium.
"If we win the next game, we could possibly play Perrysburg, and we beat them already this season," Micklitsch said. "Medina is the one team we really don't know much about."
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