St. Mary's goalie Gina Barbieri knocks away a shot attempt on Saturday against Catlin Gabel. - Matthew Aimonetti

Eagles shut down Crusader girls

HILLSBORO — No matter where she turned, Mackenzie Krieser had company.

Catlin Gabel defender Zoe Schlanger stuck with the St. Mary's senior forward like a shadow, helping the third-ranked Eagles of Southwest Portland disrupt the Crusaders' offense and secure a dominant 2-0 victory in the Class 3A/2A/1A state championship game at Liberty High School on Saturday.

A winner of 12 championships in 13 seasons from 1992 to 2004, Catlin Gabel recorded a 7-0 shot advantage and scored on a corner kick opportunity in each half against top-ranked St. Mary's. The Eagles' quick defense was just as effective, silencing two of the Crusaders' top talents and stifling their normally adroit passing game.

Krieser, who entered with a team-high 29 goals, and junior scoring threat Anna Thorndike were constantly covered in St. Mary's first appearance in a state final.

"We basically went 10 plus one man marking (Krieser)," Catlin Gabel head coach Mark Lawton said. "We just thought it was worth it to drop off a little bit on the offense and contain her, and we did. It could have backfired, but it didn't."

Alex Henry headed in a shot off a corner kick by Nina Greenebaum in the 13th minute, putting the Eagles on the scoreboard first. Taylor Smith, the District 1 player of the year, added a goal in the 54th minute.

All the while, the Catlin Gabel defense kept close tabs on the Crusaders. Krieser said the Eagles created the most chaos in the midfield, re-routing and disconnecting her team's passing lanes.

"We just abandoned our passing game and that's what hurt us most," the two-time district player of the year said. "They did a good job and I think they looked more successful because I couldn't get the ball much from the back."

St. Mary's (15-1-1) had not lost a match before Saturday. The squad beat Horizon Christian in the quarterfinals and Oregon Episcopal in the semifinals to earn its title game berth.

"The girls came in much, much more loose than they did in the semifinals and they actually had some spring in their legs," St. Mary's head coach Dave Potter said. "They still had tons of panic in their decision-making and in their gut. And in the opening minutes of the game, we were doing a lot of just booting the ball down the field trying to clear it out. The panic was obvious. The second half was a whole lot better. But the bottom line is this: Catlin Gabel was the better team today. They did everything right on offense and defense."

St. Mary's senior goalkeeper Gina Barbieri had a busy day between the pipes, facing 12 corner kicks and a barrage of attacks. She made two saves, both difficult.

"It is always fun to see a good player rise to the occasion," Potter said of Barbieri. "She got tested. You got to see a little bit of a highlight reel with her today."

Catlin Gabel (14-2-3) was defeated in the state championship match and the Crusaders fell in the semifinals in 2009. The Eagles had all but two players back from last year's squad. This was the first season for the 25-team 3A/2A/1A girls classification. In years past, the squads played in Class 4A/3A/2A/1A, which had 63 teams.

"(The Eagles) were in the finals last year and they came up short," Potter said. "They came out this year and made up for it. That could be us a year from now, couldn't it?"

Though he said the loss was painful, Potter walked away from the stadium in high spirits.

"We had a team prayer (after the game) and in that I thanked God for sending these girls my way," he said. "Because it has been the richest year of my life. These girls have made me feel inspired as a coach and person. How fortunate a guy I am."

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or e-mail

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