Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
Rachel Raniele didn't show any adverse effects from a rolled ankle suffered in a girls soccer match against Rogue River just a week before.
The St. Mary's senior scored one goal and played a pivotal role in the midfield as the Crusaders downed Cascade Christian 4-0 in a District 4 match Saturday at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
"(Raniele) was the glue that kept things together for them," said Cascade Christian coach Mick Power. "She was pretty much all over the place. She put in a really good performance."
St. Mary's (5-1-2, 3-0 Dist. 4) held a 2-0 halftime lead, then Raniele struck early in the second half with a goal that put the Crusaders in a commanding position. Raniele scored from just outside the 18-yard box on a deflection off a shot by Emily Alvarez.
"Once you get that third goal you feel you've got control of the game," said St. Mary's coach Dave Potter, "and it puts so much pressure on the opposition."
Emily Elmore accounted for St. Mary's first two goals, both within the first 12 minutes. MaryBeth Barnum assisted on the first and Lilli Knudsen provided the helper on the second.
The Crusaders grabbed a 4-0 lead in the 49th minute when Alvarez headed a Barnum cross into the corner of the net.
"MaryBeth took the ball to the left corner, she faced up to the defender, put on a couple of fakes and sent a driven ball head-high to Alvarez, who flicked it inside the far post," described Potter. "It was a dream-come-true goal for a soccer coach."
For Cascade Christian (5-2-1, 2-1), senior right wing Katelyn Fitch and midfielder Katelyn Stephens turned in stellar efforts.
"(St. Mary's) capitalized on three defensive errors and that was the key thing that sank our boat," said Power. "I can't take anything from them. St. Mary's didn't allow us to play our game."
Crusader defenders Sophia Dewing and Emily Frank were a big reason the Challengers could not effectively penetrate the Crusaders' zone.
Viv Juncal, the St. Mary's junior goalie, helped shutout Cascade Christian for only the second time this season.
GLIDE 4, ILLINOIS VALLEY 0 — At Glide, Illinois Valley trailed 2-0 at halftime in the league road match.
Illinois Valley sophomore defender Kynan Nordahl did an outstanding job marking Glide's top threat but the Wildcats (3-3-1, 2-1 Dist. 4) dominated Illinois Valley (3-4, 1-2) in time of possession and shots on goal.
Southern Oregon Hybrid
ROSEBURG 3, NORTH MEDFORD 2 — At Roseburg, North Medford scored off a pair of set pieces but Roseburg held off North Medford at Finlay Field.
Claire Ibarra, a Roseburg junior midfielder, tallied what proved to be the game-winner on a penalty kick at the 39th minute. Ibarra also scored in the 13th minute unassisted to tie the game 1-all.
Amanda Hisey headed in a corner kick by Halley Folsom for the Black Tornado (2-3-1, 1-1 SOH) in the fifth minute for the opening goal of the match.
Fiona Johnson's goal in the 16th minute off a Rachel Harland assist gave the Indians (3-3-1, 2-1) a 2-1 lead.
Morgan Barry cut the deficit to 3-2 in the first minute of the second half off a direct kick from outside the box that went high far post.
Juniors Sydney Thomas and Tory Foy did a good job helping North control possession in the midfield.
The Black Tornado had a 15-11 edge in shots on goal and took 11 corner kicks.
GRANTS PASS 10, CRATER 2 — At Grants Pass, Sydney Beck scored a pair of first-half goals for Crater in the SOH road loss.
Beck scored on a penalty kick in the 30th minute, then finished a nice through pass from Hailey Reasner just before halftime to pace the Comets (0-6, 0-4 SOH).
For Grants Pass, Brooke Blacksmith, Maci Jokumsen and Brynne Anderson each netted two goals. The Cavers (1-3-1, 1-2), who led 4-2 at halftime, also got goals from Gretchen Berkey, Megan Theriau, Hope Frye and Taylor Southwick.
5A Southern Oregon Hybrid
ASHLAND 3, EAGLE POINT 0 — At Eagle Point, Jessica Harrower connected twice on long passes into the box from Lilli Patton, leading Ashland to victory in the 5A SOH opener.
After Samantha Lilley scored from close range to give the Grizzlies (3-1-1) a 1-0 lead in the 34th, Harrower added an insurance goal four minutes into the second half when she redirected Patton's free kick. Twenty minutes later the duo executed an almost identical play to put the game out of reach.
Eagle Point fell to 2-5-1.
HIDDEN VALLEY 2, PHOENIX 1 — At Murphy, Facie Graham weaved through the Hidden Valley defense to score for Phoenix in the 62nd minute but the Pirates couldn't net an equalizer in Skyline Conference play.
The Mustangs (1-5, 1-1 Skyline) opened the scoring six minutes into the second half when Courtney Hart netted an 18-yard bicycle kick, then built a 2-0 advantage when Dakota Carpenter scored off an assist by Selena Cafferty.
Senior Jordan Stevens led the defensive effort for the Pirates (3-3, 0-2).
NORTH VALLEY 4, MAZAMA 1 — At Grants Pass, Venessa D'Arpino needed 27 minutes to tally her first hat trick of the season and also added an assist.
D'Arpino scored unassisted in the third, 20th and 27th minutes, then passed to teammate Kristen Cutting for another goal in the 70th to help North Valley (4-1-1, 2-0 Sky) win big.
Mazama (2-3, 1-1) avoided the shutout thanks to a penalty kick in the 78th minute.