St. Mary's girls wrap up fourth straight title
St. Mary's head coach Dave Potter celebrated his girls soccer seniors in the best way possible Wednesday afternoon, giving the veterans ample playing time and then sitting back and watching them produce yet another conference championship.
In the regular-season finale at U.S. Cellular Community Park, the Crusaders opened a 3-0 halftime lead and went on to claim a 6-1 triumph over visiting Rogue River to cap an undefeated run through District 4 play.
Those celebrated seniors Wednesday were able to walk off the pitch knowing that they were conference champions in all four years of their high school experience, no small feat of achievement given the early District 6 days and the past two years in District 4.
"It was very rewarding tonight to be able to put nine seniors out on the field at the beginning of the game and the beginning of the second half and letting them set the tempo of the game and tone for a quality performance," said Potter.
The only downside to the day came when senior defender Emma Anderson made contact with a Rogue River player and suffered what Potter deemed a "serious" knee injury. Confirmation of Anderson's condition was set to come today with a visit to the doctor's office, but Potter said her knee bent the wrong way and there was an audible popping sound soon after.
Anna Thorndike and Ashley Holton scored on mirror image goals in the 12th and 36th minutes, respectively, when their bending corner kicks found their way into the net. In the 38th minute, Emily Alvarez scored off a brilliant dribble and pass setup by Sarah Bennion, who had received the ball thanks to an all-out effort by Erika Peterson.
Charis Darnall scored on a bending 18-yard shot to the upper left corner of the goal in the 42nd minute and Amber Moore finished off a corner kick by Rachel Raniele in the 64th minute for the Crusaders (13-0-1, 8-0 Dist. 4).
Rogue River's Micaila Miguel intercepted a back pass to the goalkeeper in the 77th minute to put the Chieftains (5-7, 3-5) on the board, but Bennion answered one minute later on a perfectly placed 35-yard shot.
SHELDON 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 0 — At Eugene, senior outside hitter Sam Owirka powered South Medford with 16 kills but it wasn't enough in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs as Sheldon prevailed 25-20, 25-11, 25-15.
The third-seeded Irish were able to build comfortable leads in each game before the Panthers (12-11) rallied back. Senior libero Emily Cutting had 23 digs and senior setter Chandler Criswell had 27 assists for South Medford, a No. 6 seed.
ROSEBURG 3, GRANT 0 — At Roseburg, aggressive serving and balanced play allowed No. 1 seed Roseburg to easily dispatch Grant in the first-round state playoff match, 25-18, 25-14, 25-12.
Tyler Allen, Anna Bruns and Kristen Epps each had at least six kills and Vanessa Bentley added 28 assists for the Indians (24-4), who next play host to Southridge in the second round.
CENTRAL CATHOLIC 3, GRANTS PASS 0 — At Portland, No. 1 seed Central Catholic proved too much for Grants Pass in the opening round of the Class 6A state playoffs, winning 25-7, 25-9, 25-10.
The Cavers, seeded eighth, capped their season with a 5-14 overall record.
PROSPECT 3, CAMAS VALLEY 2 — At Prospect, Heather Lass had 10 kills, 15 assists and was 10-for-11 serving to lead a balanced Prospect attack during a 25-21, 17-25, 25-6, 18-25, 15-6 win in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs.
Prospect's Taylor Bernhardt added 18 digs, six kills and was 17-for-18 at the service line, while Jessica VanWormer had 13 assists, Miranda Hedgpeth added 15 digs and Caree Mickelsen was 10-for-10 serving.
Prospect (16-4) will travel to play Adrian in Saturday's second round.
CRANE 3, BUTTE FALLS 1 — At Crane, Butte Falls evened the first-round match through two games but dropped the next two in heartbreaking fashion to put an end to the Loggers' season.
Crane pulled out the playoff victory 25-11, 19-25, 25-23, 25-20.
Butte Falls capped its season with a 12-9 overall record.