Virginia Tech-bound Hannah Pacham shines, but Medina rallies by Walsh Jesuit girls soccer

Walsh Jesuit's Hannah Pachan heads the ball down the field against Strongsville last season.

CUYAHOGA FALLS — Hannah Pachan has been a force for Walsh Jesuit girls soccer since the moment she arrived.

She played a major role on Walsh's 2021 state runner-up squad, scoring a goal in the final. She was named first team All-Ohio last year, despite dealing with several injuries.

Walsh coach Javier Iriart said he has no doubt where Pachan ranks among players he has coached.

"At the very top. In my 16 years of coaching, she's at the top," Iriart said. "She's just so dynamic and versatile and she gives everything to the team."

So it was no shock when Pachan committed to Virginia Tech on Aug. 30, just as she was starting her junior season.

"They just really stuck out to me," Pachan said of Virginia Tech. "The ACC is the place where I've always wanted to be. The Hokies are something that I've been looking at since eighth grade. It's like love at first sight. That's all it was."

Pachan continued her role as Walsh's top scorer Monday, when she scored the Warriors' lone goal in a 2-1 loss to top-ranked Medina.

Medina coach Jason Rutkowski indicated he'll be happy to see Pachan move on to Virginia Tech.

"We saw Tess [Knapp] last week at Bay Village and I had nightmares about that. It's the same thing with Hannah," he said. "Every time she touches the ball, along with Reagan Pentz, too, they are just so dangerous. Two of the best players we'll see on one single team all year."

With her college choice set, Pachan said her success will be defined by how far the Warriors go.

"It's a team sport, so whatever the team is successful at, that's what it's going to be for me," she said. "Nothing counts until playoffs. We want to win a state title, and this is one little setback to get us ready for that."

Top-ranked Medina rallies past Walsh Jesuit girls soccer

Medina came to Walsh's Kissner Field on Monday ranked No. 1 in Division I in the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association poll.

Thanks to a bit of Pachan magic, however, Walsh (4-2-2) had Medina right where it wanted at halftime.

In the 24th minute, Pachan spun around her defender at the end line and got free, only to be cut down in the box.

Pachan took the penalty kick herself. Although Medina keeper Brooke Blomquist had a diving stop on Pachan's first shot, she directed the rebound into the open net.

Walsh was up 1-0 at the half, having a 4-2 edge in shots on goal after 40 minutes.

The next three minutes changed everything.

Medina (8-0) scored two goals in the 42nd minute. It started a brilliant individual effort by Anna Fugarino, who brushed off a defender and sent a low shot to the far corner of the net.

About 30 seconds later, Medina got the ball deep down the left side. Lilly Boebel hit a cross to the box, which Mollie Lawrence headed home to make it 2-1.

The Bees also had a shot bang off the post and had another goal called back due to offsides in the second half. Medina finished with a 10-6 edge in shots on goal.

"They were beating us with space and time in the midfield, so we addressed that we had to press a bit higher on the field," Rutkowski said. "That team is so talented that, if you don't have your feet on the ball, you're chasing and you're defending.

"They do a great job getting so many numbers forward, which is crazy scary defensively. We questioned, 'With them getting numbers forward, could we expose them on a counter?'"

Iriart said the manner in which Walsh lost was "unacceptable."

"It's just a total second-half collapse," he said. "In the first five minutes of the second half, we just came out totally flat, and that's on me as the head coach. We have to figure out how to keep these teams going for 80 minutes."

"I think we went out there too high-headed with too much adrenaline in us," Pachan said. "So much can happen in a soccer game in the just the first two minutes. I think we just need to learn how to keep our composure and just go out like it's 0-0 at halftime."

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Medina rallies to beat Walsh Jesuit girls soccer