Calming the nerves was the hardest part for the St. Mary’s boys soccer team in its first-round Class 3A/2A/1A playoff with Santiam Christian on Wednesday.
At the 26-minute mark, Andrew Michel provided the icebreaker goal the Crusaders needed to settle down en route to a 6-0 victory at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
“We struggled in the beginning because everyone was nervous,” said Eisa Tia Tutu, coach of the Crusaders (13-1-1), who will host De La Salle North Catholic on Saturday. “This week we’ll try to go back (in practice) and work on the details of some things to be sharper for Saturday.”
St. Mary’s Luka Cvijanovic connected on two goals — the first in the 38th minute to put the Crusaders up 3-0 at the half, then extended it to 4-0 at the 54-minute mark.
Michel added an assist on Nathan Sternenberg’s goal, while Roman Bobek and Weston Grant supplied a goal and an assist apiece.
Goalkeepers Brendon Borovansky and Hunter Holdermann split time in-goal to post a shutout while backing a stout Crusader defense.
GRANTS PASS 2, CLEVELAND 1 (SO): At Grants Pass, Grants Pass won its second consecutive Class 6A state playoff game in a shootout.
This time, the Cavemen knocked off Cleveland by winning the penalty kicks portion 5-4 in eight rounds in a second-round playoff at Mel Ingram Field.
After a scoreless regulation, Grants Pass (10-2-4) got on the board first as Cade Anderson found Gage Berkey in the box for a quick goal in the 91st minute.
Cleveland (9-7-1) responded late in the second overtime. Alex Weiler hit a penalty kick following a hand ball in the box by the Cavemen.
In the shootout, Grants Pass keeper Tobias D’Amato stopped four of the Warriors’ shots with Berkey hitting the eventual game-winner.
Grants Pass advanced to the Class 6A quarterfinals for the second time in school history. The Cavemen are scheduled to play at Jesuit on Saturday at a time to be determined.
WOODBURN 2, ASHLAND 1: At Ashland, Woodburn scored two goals in the first half and rode a great performance by its goalkeeper the rest of the way in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
The visiting Bulldogs, seeded eighth in the 16-team bracket, took a 1-0 lead on Jesus Rodriguez’s goal in the 26th minute and added what turned out to be a crucial insurance goal six minutes later.
Ashland’s Ben Lucero scored off an assist by Ian Shibley with about three minutes to go in the first half to give the ninth-seeded Grizzlies (11-2-2) the momentum heading into the break.
Ashland had plenty of chances to score an equalizer in the second half, including four close-range opportunities in the first seven minutes, but the Grizzlies were denied each time by Woodburn keeper Jose Ochoa.
Woodburn (12-2-2) will face top-seeded Hood River Valley in the state quarterfinals Saturday.
Rodriguez gave the Bulldogs the early lead when he beat a defender and the keeper with a low, hard strike that squirted through near the center of the net.
Woodburn’s second goal came off a sharp-angled free kick.
Ashland, the fourth-highest scoring team in 5A soccer, created the final highlight of the first 40 minutes when Shibley delivered a nice pass to Lucero, who one-touched it into the lower right corner.
CATLIN GABEL 4, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 1: At Portland, Cascade Christian hovered around prior to halftime but Catlin Gabel opened things up with three second-half goals over less than a 10-minute span to come away with the first-round playoff win.
The Challengers (9-6) tried to push the ball up the field to begin the second half but were unable to do so against the home team.
Jonathan McCoy tallied the Challengers’ lone goal in the 70th minute with a penalty kick.
Senior goalkeeper Nick Erno turned in an admiral performance, making double-digit saves.