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Crusaders close in on district crown

Mackenzie Krieser and Anna Thorndike are creating a chemistry that excites St. Mary's girls soccer coach Dave Potter.

Krieser, a junior forward, scored two goals — both on assists from Thorndike — as the Crusaders moved closer to their second consecutive District 6 title with a hard-fought 2-0 victory against Henley at U.S. Cellular Community Park Tuesday.

A victory at Rogue River on Saturday will clinch the district championship for St. Mary's (12-1-1, 12-1 Dist. 6).

"Thorndike and Krieser are developing a significant connection," said Potter. "It will be challenging to stop them."

The Crusaders' pair hooked up on a set play in the 25th minute when Krieser's header was deposited inside the far post off a throw-in by Thorndike.

"It was a perfect throw," said Potter, "and Mackenzie timed her run well."

The half ended with St. Mary's in front 1-0.

Four minutes into the second half, Thorndike, a sophomore midfielder, delivered a long through ball which Krieser dribbled past three defenders and bent a shot past the Henley goalie for a 2-0 advantage.

"Mackenzie showed what she was made of tonight using her speed and ability," said Potter.

Defensively, Lindsay Barham and Abby Steinsiek combined to shut down Henley's top offensive threat, Jordin Scholer.

"Tonight is the first time our defense worked together as a collective group and it was productive," said Potter. "It's coming together at the right time."

St. Mary's junior goalie Gina Barbieri, who has been battling injury and illness, returned to top form with the shutout.

"This was a highlight match for us," said Potter. "This was demonstration of determination and character that did my heart good."

PHOENIX 9, ILLINOIS VALLEY 0 ­— At Talent, Maria Garcia scored three goals to give Phoenix (3-10 District 6) the runaway win.

Kourtney Scoggins added two goals, while Hillary Sinner, McKenzie Legg, and Leslie Nunez each added a goal to pace the Pirates.

HIDDEN VALLEY 7, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 0 — Dana Powell powered Hidden Valley with three goals and the Mustangs also received goals from Rachelle Flick, Ashley Hart, Cedar Wilkening and Bry Black at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

Cascade Christian dropped to 6-7 in league play.

NORTH VALLEY 8, ROGUE RIVER 0 — At Merlin, Megan Knitter led North Valley with two goals, while Mia Robles had two goals and one assist.

North Valley (8-5 District 6) received two assists from Natasha Healy-Timlin, and one goal each from sisters Courtney and Trisha Durham and Ashley Brown.

Southwest Conference

GRANTS PASS 2, NORTH MEDFORD 1, OT — At Grants Pass, Kate Folsom scored on a nice through pass from Sarah Chambers in the 11th minute of play for North Medford but the Black Tornado couldn't find the net again in suffering the tough overtime defeat.

Sydney Lawless scored off an assist by Heather Perry to pull Grants Pass even seven minutes into the second half.

Neither team managed much offense until Perry scored with a shot to the far post off a Lawless pass 30 seconds into the second 10-minute overtime period.

The Black Tornado (6-7, 4-5 SWC) will be the league's No. 4 team in the state playoffs regardless of what happens Saturday. Grants Pass improved to 8-3-1 overall and 5-3-1 in SWC play.

SHELDON 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 0 — Stephanie Ralls and Marisa Specht each scored second-half goals to lift visiting Sheldon to the victory.

Ralls scored in the 50th minute on an assist from Bronte Jorgensen and Specht capped the scoring in the 65th on an assist from Ralls.

Carlee Hauser put in a goal from Specht in the 22nd minute to give the Irish a 1-0 halftime lead.

South Medford (2-9-2, 2-5-2 SWC) outshot Sheldon, 6-1, in the first half.

ROSEBURG 1, SOUTH EUGENE 0 — At Roseburg, Shae Yuma scored in the 49th minute off a corner kick by Hannah Russo to lead Roseburg (9-5, 6-3 SWC).

Ally Foster had five saves in goal to preserve the shutout.