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St. Mary's girls, boys cruise into semis

St. Mary’s wasted little time setting the tone in Saturday’s Class 3A/2A/1A girls soccer state quarterfinals, and visiting Riverside never had a chance after that as the Crusaders rolled to a 6-0 triumph at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

St. Mary’s seniors Maddie Wheelock and Meghan Michels teamed up in the first minute of play to put their team on the scoreboard to open an eight-minute onslaught that was the key to victory.

“We put them on their heels right away,” said St. Mary’s head coach Dave Potter. “The tempo of the game was set in the first 8-10 minutes. We just had an onslaught of scoring opportunities and they kept loading up the defensive third, so they didn’t get any attack going.”

In the opening minute, Wheelock slipped a pass through to Michels, who fired a shot that found the back of the net. In the eighth minute, Wheelock scored off a corner kick by Emma Bennion.

The Crusaders’ lead moved to 3-0 midway through the first half when Wheelock was fouled in the penalty area and converted a penalty kick.

St. Mary’s tacked on three more goals in the second half, with Bennion registering a goal after a nice one-touch pass from Riley Kreul.

Bennion added another corner kick assist when Gabi Castillo nailed home a header in the 56th minute, and the final tally came from a well-traveled source as Sophia Dobry scored following a nice through ball by Wheelock. Dobry had run in the cross country state championships earlier in the day but made good on her promise to be back and ready for her soccer team’s contest.

The Crusaders recorded their second straight shutout and sixth overall to earn a spot in Tuesday’s semifinals, where they will face a familiar foe in Oregon Episcopal at U.S. Cellular.

“It was a credit to my girls, they played their best defensive match,” said Potter. “We always get offensive punch from our attackers but we’ve been working hard on solidifying our defense and defensive tactics and today the girls really put it all together.”

Boys

ST. MARY’S 5, WESTERN CHRISTIAN/PERRYDALE 0: William Kranenburg scored two goals, Milan Bobek had a goal and an assist and the St. Mary’s Crusaders rolled to their 16th win in a row in the Class 3A/2A/1A state quarterfinals at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

The win advanced the undefeated, No. 3-seeded Crusaders (16-0-1) to the state semifinals, where they will play No. 2-seeded Catlin Gabel on Tuesday in Portland. St. Mary’s and Catlin Gabel played to a 3-3 draw in both teams’ season opener, Aug. 24.

In a change of pace for the high-scoring Crusaders they were held in check through the first 18 minutes, but broke through in the 19th when right fullback Bobek collected a pass from Kaleb Webster-Wharton in the box, turned and fired a rocket to give St. Mary’s a 1-0 lead.

Five minutes later a nicely-placed through ball from Bobek led to a foul in the box, and Preston Jernigan cashed in on the penalty kick to give the Crusaders an insurance goal.

Kranenburg scored his first goal off an assist by Charles Reade in the 56th, Corin Elmore connected off an assist by Nathan Sternenberg in the 74th and Kranenburg scored unassisted in the 78th for the final tally.

“I think we played well,” St. Mary’s coach Eisa Tiaa Tutu said. “We controlled the tempo. I’m happy with these kids — they’re just figuring out how to play the game.”

St. Mary’s scored its last two goals shorthanded after senior defender Parker Lam was sent off with a red card. By rule, Lam will be ineligible for Tuesday’s game.

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