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PREP SOCCER: St. Mary's girls advance to state semis

St. Mary’s junior Sophia Dobry made the right run at the right time and thanks to a stout defensive effort, that’s all the Crusaders would need Saturday to advance in the Class 3A/2A/1A girls soccer state playoffs.

Dobry’s goal in the seventh minute held up to lead second-seeded St. Mary’s to a 1-0 victory over No. 7 Portland Christian in the state quarterfinals at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

The Crusaders (12-3) advanced to face No. 3 Oregon Episcopal in Tuesday’s semifinals. The Aardvarks beat Blanchet Catholic, 3-0, on Saturday.

St. Mary’s sophomore Ryker Rothfus helped set up the scoring opportunity for Dobry.

“Ryker got the ball at the top of the (18-yard box) and did a good job of holding it and waiting for the defenders to commit,” said Crusaders first-year coach Martin Nelson. “When they did, she sent a good through ball to Sophia overlapping behind the defense and she just finished into the corner.”

The 3A District 5 champions had several other scoring opportunities, according to Nelson, but just couldn’t find the net again against Portland Christian (13-4-1).

Olivia Lippert earned a clean sheet in goal but was rarely tested beyond 30-yard shots thanks to a stifling performance by the St. Mary’s defense and crew in the midfield.

Boys

ASHLAND 2, HOOD RIVER VALLEY 0: At Ashland, senior midfielder Scott Gustafson made up for bad luck with his hustle and Ashland’s defense proved dominant in the Class 5A state quarterfinals victory.

Gustafson hit the crossbar or lower post three times in the first half before seizing an opportunity in the 29th minute on a ball played back to the Hood River Valley goalkeeper by a defender. Gustafson hustled to intercept the pass and then win a close one-on-one battle to put second-seeded Ashland up 1-0.

The Grizzlies (11-2-3) tacked on an insurance goal in the 56th minute when a high bouncing cross from Gustafson was headed into the net on a one-touch effort by junior midfielder Carson Pindell.

Junior goalkeeper Gabe Giancarlo made a clutch one-on-one save and had three other quality saves to keep a clean sheet against No. 7 Hood River Valley (10-5-2).

Ashland’s defense of Milan Pyle, Sam Austin, Kai Larson, Tali Parowski and Michael Holden played instrumental roles, along with pressure put on offensively by Kona Makai and Davidson Graham.

Ashland will host No. 3 Wilsonville, a 1-0 winner over Silverton, in Tuesday’s semifinals.

STAYTON 3, PHOENIX 1: At Talent, fourth-seeded Phoenix proved to be its own worst enemy in the Class 4A state quarterfinals, allowing No. 5 Stayton to escape Colver Field with a triumph in a hard-fought battle.

A bad touch off the backline while trying to clear the ball allowed Jayden Esparza to score at close range in the second minute for Stayton (14-2).

Phoenix (12-2-2) answered in the eighth minute when Victor Martinez scored off a header on a corner kick by fellow sophomore Caden Gallegos.

It was 1-all in the 23rd minute when Stayton got a go-ahead goal after Phoenix sophomore goalkeeper Tucker Speaks punched out a hard shot on goal but saw it ricochet off a nearby defender back into the Pirates’ goal.

Omar Renteria scored from 12 yards out after a crossing pass in the 62nd minute to cap the scoring in a match that saw Phoenix post a 12-7 edge in shots on goal. Speaks finished with three saves.

BROOKINGS-HARBOR 4, ST. MARY’S 0: At Brookings, sophomore Fabian Villa scored twice for No. 3 seed Brookings-Harbor, which tallied two goals in each half to eliminate St. Mary’s in the Class 3A/2A/1A state quarterfinals.

Brookings-Harbor (17-0) scored in the 34th and 39th minute of the first half, then built a big cushion early in the second half with goals in the 45th and 47th minutes to put the Crusaders (14-1-1) on their heels.

St. Mary’s, the 3A District 5 champions, received quality scoring threats from Nathan Sternenberg, Charles Reade, Milan Bobek and William Kranenburg but none could get a shot off quick enough to send it past the swarming Bruins defense.

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