The Archbishop Hoban High School varsity girls soccer team hasn't embraced a catchy slogan to use as its mantra throughout the 2013 season. Instead, the Knights have focused their energy on improving as individuals and as a cohesive unit each time they've stepped on the soccer pitch this fall.
"Work hard and try to get better every day," first-year head coach Patrick Dobbins said while describing his team's mindset.
Employing that simple, focused approach, Hoban has used its athleticism to play an attractive style of soccer that features defensive pressure and a patient attack.
The Knights are ranked second in the final Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association Division II state poll of the season.
In the regular season, the Knights outscored their opponents by an impressive 49-7 margin, recorded 10 shutouts and tallied a 14-0-2 overall record and a 4-0-2 North Coast League mark.
Senior forward Mykaela Zingale tallied 10 goals and seven assists, and senior midfielder Katie Easton scored seven goals. Sophomore midfielder Ashley Dobbins recorded six goals and seven assists. Fellow sophomore midfielder Alex Sheldon notched seven goals and five assists.
"We have not peaked yet," Dobbins said before the start of tournament play. "Our best soccer is yet to come."
Hoban has experienced similar success in the postseason, as the Knights have shut out Canton South (9-0) and Cloverleaf (4-0) to advance to tonight's Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II Brunswick district tournament final.
Before the start of the postseason, Dobson answered questions about his team and its banner season for WKYC's USATodayhss.com Web site.
WKYC's USATodayhss.com Web site: What are three adjectives that describe your team and/or its play this season?
Archbishop Hoban head coach Patrick Dobbins: Hardworking, patient and talented.
WKYC: What has been your team's greatest strength this season?
Dobbins: Our team chemistry is great this year, led by a strong senior class.
WKYC: What has been the high point of your team's season thus far?
Dobbins: Finishing the regular season undefeated and earning the No. 1 seed in our district.
WKYC: What was the low point of your team's season? What did the team learn from the experience?
Dobbins: Battling injuries. We learned that others are able and willing to step up when called upon.
WKYC: Who are your team's leaders? What do they bring to the team?
Dobbins: Katie Easton, Mykaela Zingale and Natalie Comeriato. They are our three captains who bring strong leadership, understanding and an ability to communicate effectively with all the girls and the coaching staff.
WKYC: Who has been your team's unsung hero this season? Why? Maddy Diestel, our goalkeeper. Maddy has made huge saves in big games for us. She is also a good motivator and keeps the team in good spirits.
WKYC: What must happen for your team to be able to make a deep tournament run?
Dobbins: Keep trusting our system and style of play, work hard, be patient and do not panic.
WKYC: When the season is long over, what will you remember most about this year's squad?
Dobbins: The fact that they enjoy being together, play an attractive style of soccer and have fun playing the game they love.
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