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St. Mary’s boys slip by Challengers

The quick rise of the Cascade Christian boys soccer program was evident Wednesday, but St. Mary’s was still able to show why it’s been so dominant under the guidance of Paul Coughlin in a dramatic District 5 match at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

In its third season after reviving a dormant boys program, Cascade Christian sent the rivalry match into overtime with a goal in the final minute, only to have St. Mary’s secure a 3-2 victory with a decisive seventh penalty kick by freshman Weston Grant.

“It was the thriller at U.S. Cellular, for sure,” said a relieved Coughlin, whose program has advanced to the state championship final in three of the last four years.

“My hat is off to the Cascade coaches,” he added. “They have really, in a pretty short time, created a very strong program and they showed that today. They came at us with a lot of spirit and, boy, they just didn’t back down at all.”

St. Mary’s (3-2, 1-0 Dist. 5) took the lead in the seventh minute when Sam Becker delivered a beautiful over the top pass to Hunter Rothfus, who ran onto the ball and scored from 6 yards out.

In the 35th minute, Cascade Christian sophomore Jesse Fretz answered with a crisp direct kick just outside the box that skimmed the wet turf for an equalizer by the Challengers (4-2, 1-1).

Rothfus, a junior, tacked on his second goal with a looping shot from 35 yards out in the 60th minute for a 2-1 lead for the Crusaders. In the final minute of regulation, however, St. Mary’s committed a foul that opened the door again for Fretz, who sent an indirect free kick across the box and found a crashing junior Travis Cave for a slick header to tie the match at 2-all.

Neither team managed to score in either of the 10-minute overtime sessions, and each team saw four of their first five shooters find the net in the penalty kick portion. The successful kicks were even at five apiece when Grant stepped in and put his team ahead in the golden goal situation.

“We put him in an interesting position as a freshman but boy did he deliver,” said Coughlin. “He’s got an amazing direct kick.”

Cascade Christian’s ensuing effort to extend the match missed the mark, allowing St. Mary’s to escape with the victory in a game played through constant rain.

“It was a great game,” said Challengers head coach Terry Fretz. “They’re such a strong program so to take it to overtime and then lose in penalty kicks, it was still kind of exciting for us.”

Girls Soccer

ST. MARY’S 8, LAKEVIEW 0: Eight different players scored a goal as St. Mary’s improved to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in District 5 play with the win at U.S. Cellular.

MaryBeth Barnum had a goal and two assists, while the Crusaders received one goal and one assist from Lilli Knudsen, Emily Elmore, Ellie Hough and Kricket Lyle.

Sophia Dewing, Emma Glatte and Viv Juncal also scored goals, while Emily Frank had an assist. Juncal and Emily Riehlman shared duties in goal for the shutout.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN 9, ILLINOIS VALLEY 1: At Cave Junction, Jenna Worthington recorded a hat trick and Makenzie Hickman had two goals and two assists for Cascade Christian in District 5 action.

Alex Torano netted two goals and Jillian Emard and Cheyanne Auchard both scored for the Challengers (5-1, 1-0 Dist. 5), who led 9-0 at halftime.

Mikael Cusumano had the second-half goal for Illinois Valley (3-4, 1-1).