St. Mary's girls advance into state semis
St. Mary's changed its pattern in a Class 4A/3A/2A/1A girls quarterfinal-round soccer playoff game Saturday.
The Crusaders came out with lots of energy and had visiting Valley Catholic on its heels from the opening whistle. St. Mary's didn't cash in with any goals early but the pressure eventually paid off.
St. Mary's scored twice within two minutes late in the opening period and went on to post a 2-0 victory over the Beaverton school at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
"We reversed our habits today," said St. Mary's coach Dave Potter, "and played gang busters in the first half and held them off in the second half."
St. Mary's (15-1-1) will host Gladstone, a upset winner over Marist, on Tuesday at U.S. Cellular.
The Crusaders finally broke through in the 36th minute when Anna Thorndike slipped a pass through to Mckenzie Krieser, who made a run and beat Valiants' goal keeper Hannah Wright one-one-one.
"It was perfect timing on Mckenzie's run and Anna's pass," said Potter. "(Krieser) took the goalie to the left and played the ball to the right."
St. Mary's quickly scored again when Thorndike cleaned up a corner kick by Sarah Seus in front of Valley Catholic's goal. Seus played the ball to the center of the goal mouth area and Hannah Norton got a foot on it first before Thorndike finished.
"It was obvious Valley Catholic wasn't playing at their best speed," said Potter. "I knew they were going to increase their tempo of play in the second half."
Potter was correct as the Valiants became more aggressive after intermission but the Crusaders were up for the task.
St. Mary's back line of sisters Lindsay and McKenna Barnum and Mattie Gambee performed as a cohesive unit. Also Abby Steinsiek and Seus dropped back to mark Valley Catholic's main offensive threat Linda Nguyen.
The Crusaders received important contributions from junior midfielder Ellie Gambee and reserve Carlie Irvine, a junior forward.
"Carlie and Ellie both produced a lot of pressure and caused numerous throw-ins for us. They forced Valley Catholic to kick a lot of balls out of bounds.
"It was remarkable we held them scoreless," added Potter. "This team got caught off guard by us. They came down here not thinking we were as competent as we are."
CATLIN GABEL 2, HIDDEN VALLEY 0 — At Portland, for much of the match, Hidden Valley held the edge in all facets of the game in the Class 4A state quarterfinals against top-ranked Catlin Gabel.
But even though sixth-ranked Mustangs had plenty of scoring opportunites, they couldn't convert as Catlin Gabel moved on and will face Sisters in the semifinals.
"I felt like our players put enough pressure on them," said Mustangs coach Mark Swanberg. "We did excute our plan very well. We had a lot of shots on the frame of the goal, but it's got to go inside the frame not outside of it."
Mustangs star goalkeeper Katie Figoni played very well in goal and made key saves on when Catlin Gabel was able to take one of its seldom swings at the goal.
Hidden Valley defenders Alyssa Byrd, a freshman, and sophomore Carlee Nelson did well limiting Catlin Gabel's scoring opportunities. Sweeper Lindsay Guevara also had a strong performance for the Mustangs (14-3).
SISTERS 3, NORTH VALLEY 2 — At Sisters, after an emotional ride into the state tournament, the North Valley's journey came to an end in the Class 4A quarterfinals as Sisters scored three second-half goals in six minutes to rally from an 2-0 deficit.
Just to make it into the state playoffs, North Valley had to win three straight seeding games in four days. The Knights beat Cascade Christian twice before upsetting the Skyline's No. 2 seed Henley.
The Knights (13-6) scored in the 23rd minute when Trisha Durham set up Lauren Crawford's goal. Durham later gave the Knights a 2-0 advantage with a goal of her own in the 54th minute on a pass from Kylie McElheran.
But Sisters' star striker Marin Allen tallied in the 64th minute and knotted the score 2-all two minutes later on a header off a cross from Michelle Young.
At the 70-minute mark, Young's corner kick found Mindy Marr, scored on a shot off her knee for the victory.
"It was a testament to playing whistle-to-whistle," said Knights coach John Timlin of Sisters' comeback. "We had a great run this season. (Our) girls played their hearts out."