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Published: Wednesday, 11/16/2011

Northview girls soccer raises bar by reaching state semifinals

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Sylvania Northview's Brooke Snead (20) kicks the ball past  Anthony Wayne's Aubrie Kreft (13) and Ali Mortemore (10) during the Division I district girls soccer final at Springfield High School in Holland, Ohio. Sylvania Northview's Brooke Snead (20) kicks the ball past Anthony Wayne's Aubrie Kreft (13) and Ali Mortemore (10) during the Division I district girls soccer final at Springfield High School in Holland, Ohio.
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The 2011 girls soccer season will be remembered for a long while at Northview.

Frankly, it deserves plenty of positive reflection.

The 2011 Wildcats accomplished something no previous Wildcats team had achieved. Northview claimed its first Division I regional championship and advanced to the D-I state semifinals for the first time in school history.

"We've been district champs several times but to be regional champs is a whole 'nother level," said Rick Burgin, who has coached the Wildcats for nine seasons. "The great thing is because we've never been this far before and now that we have; it tells the rest of our players coming through that we can do it. Not only that, your job is to push the bar even higher.

"I appreciate these seniors pushing the bar where no other senior class has ever done in the past."

The Wildcats were paced by a close-knit group of seniors, who seemed to improve and play stronger every step of the way en route to Northview taking on second-ranked Strongsville in a state semifinal at Cedar Point Stadium. A disappointing 3-0 loss halted Northview's ultimate goal of playing in the state title match.

Sylvania Northview's Courney Hendrix (16) was one of seven seniors on the Wildcats' roster to serve as team catalyst. "I appreciate these seniors pushing the bar where no other senior class has ever done in the past," said Northview coach Rick Burgin.THE BLADE/ JEREMY WADSWORTH Sylvania Northview's Courney Hendrix (16) was one of seven seniors on the Wildcats' roster to serve as team catalyst. "I appreciate these seniors pushing the bar where no other senior class has ever done in the past," said Northview coach Rick Burgin.THE BLADE/ JEREMY WADSWORTH
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Yet, the Wildcats (13-5-4) walked off the field turf in Sandusky with the understanding that their season produced unparalleled positives for the program.

"It was very sad to watch four years of your high school career fly by so fast," Northview senior forward Courtney Hendrix said. "It seems like just yesterday I was a freshman out there playing.

"It was a good way to end the season in the Final Four. We were the only team from Northview to make it this far, so that feels good."

Northview seniors Natalie Roemer, Sam Sarmento, Shelby Rieger, Brooke Snead, Amber Ulrich, Stephanie Jenkins and Hendrix served as the team catalysts. They led the way.

"It was a wonderful experience, and it had to be with the great teamwork that we had," said Hendrix, who finished the year with a team-high 15 goals. "The team chemistry was the best. We're very close, and we worked together the whole way."

The Wildcats pulled off a state tournament run to remember.

They opened the tournament with a 7-0 rout of Fremont Ross and followed the win with a 6-1 drubbing of Central Catholic in a district semifinal.

Sylvania Northview's Erin Bishop (15) takes a shot at the goal as Anthony Wayne's Hayley Wagner (22) defends. Sylvania Northview's Erin Bishop (15) takes a shot at the goal as Anthony Wayne's Hayley Wagner (22) defends.
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Facing Northern Lakes League rival Anthony Wayne in a district final, Northview pulled off a 1-0 victory to set up a contest with No. 1-ranked Perrysburg in a regional semifinal. After losing 2-1 to the Yellow Jackets during the regular season, the Wildcats pulled off a stunning 1-0 upset.

Northview went on to knock off Wadsworth 1-0 in a shootout to claim its first regional championship before falling to Strongsville in the state semifinal.

Northview junior goalie Alexis Bielski played strong in goal throughout the tournament.

"This tournament run was nothing less than spectacular," Burgin said. "I've never had so much fun coaching in my career than during these past three weeks.

"We've won in just climactic ways. We won games against unbelievably strong teams."

And it stands as a run to remember around Northview.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter at demmonsblade



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