PREP ROUNDUP: Senior Kranenburg powers St. Mary's
With a spate of young players on the roster, St. Mary’s boys soccer coach Eisa Tiaa Tutu turned to his best and most-experienced player to take control in the Crusaders’ season-opening match against Rogue River.
Senior Will Kranenburg, a four-year varsity player with experience in the Portland Timbers developmental program, obliged.
Kranenburg scored four goals and assisted on two others as St. Mary’s defeated Rogue River, 7-0, Thursday at blustery U.S. Cellular Community Park.
“You can’t ask for a better day to have a test to see if your soccer team will adjust to this environment,” said Tiaa Tutu of the weather, “but they did. I’m very proud of them, and happy.”
With seven freshmen making up half the roster, Kranenburg, one of three seniors, was called on to take the lead.
He assisted on the game’s first goal with a pass to his freshman brother, Christopher, in the 17th minute, then scored goals in the 34th and 36th minutes as the Crusaders opened a 4-0 halftime lead.
“He has an eye for the game and he listens well,” said Tiaa Tutu, “so he had the opportunity to develop and become a great soccer player. I give him a lot of responsibility to guide the team.
“It was our first game, and I told him flat-out to play the game that should be played. Collect the ball from the defense, then feed your strikers to score goals, then you can create an opportunity to score a goal, too, and it happened today.”
It happened often.
St. Mary’s other first-half goal came from sophomore Noah Friesen, the assist going to freshman Leandro Cronk. Cronk also assisted on Will Kranenburg’s first goal, and Christopher Kranenburg passed to his brother on the second one.
The Crusaders “did kind of struggle in the first 20 minutes,” said Tiaa Tutu. “We were struggling to connect the dots and were kind of slow. That’s not the way we wanted to start. Everybody was kind of nervous.”
In the second half, Will Kranenburg sandwiched goals in the 46th and 57th minutes around a score by Friesen, on which the senior assisted.
Assists on Will Kranenburg’s second-half scores went to Cronk and Friesen.
The biggest challenge in the wind was controlling the ball, said Tiaa Tutu.
“The ball control is enemy No. 1,” he said. “Then you have to figure out exactly who to give the pass to without getting in trouble.”
The coach was pleased with his young defense, led by freshman Andew Lockwood. Junior Travis Lockwood and freshman Oliver Janes were also key contributors, and freshman Nahan Lemley delivered the shutout in goal.
St. Mary’s next visits rival Cascade Christian in a 10 a.m. match Saturday at U.S. Cellular.
GRANTS PASS 3, NORTH MEDFORD 0: At Grants Pass, Lauren Robinson scored two second-half goals to lift the Cavers as they evened their season record at 1-1.
Grants Pass scored early in each half to take command.
The Cavers scored in the fourth minute, then the two teams played evenly until Robinson sent a couple long shots into the goal.
Robinson scored in the 47th and 55th minutes.
KLAMATH UNION 4, PHOENIX 2: At Phoenix, sophomore Morgan James and junior Madelyn Mayer scored goals in Phoenix’s opener, but the Pirates couldn’t stave off Klamath Union.
James tallied in the 12th minute, giving Phoenix a 1-0 lead. Senior Alex Hernandez challenged a defender on the left side of the goal and found James at the top of the 18-yard box. James one-touched it to the right side of the goal.
Mayer’s score was unassisted in the 29th minute and gave the Pirates a 2-1 halftime lead.
Klamath Union then scored three unanswered goals in the second half.
Phoenix goalie Maria Pyeatt made eight saves.
Klamath Union had 14 shots to the Pirates’ seven.
ST. MARY’S 3, GOLD BEACH 0: At Gold Beach, St. Mary’s amassed 24 service aces and defeated Gold Beach, 25-13, 25-13, 25-18, upping its record to 2-0.
Senior Ainsley Dunn led the team with seven aces, followed by senior Abbie Christman with five as Gold Beach struggled to put up an offense.
Dunn also paced the team with seven kills, and Christman added six. Sophomore Kelsey Dunn produced five, adding to the team total of 24.
Freshman Emma Johnston had nine digs, and sophomore Kaitlyn Hansen registered 17 assists.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, SUTHERLIN 1: Cascade Christian improved its record to 2-0 with a 25-18, 25-16, 19-25, 26-24 victory over Sutherlin.
The Challengers trailed 20-14 in the fourth set before a run of five service points by senior Kara Palmer pulled them within 20-19 and turned the tide. Freshman Maddie Carter produced the deciding kill at the net.
Palmer had 12 kills and five aces, and senior Hannah Stanfield had eight kills, two aces and 18 digs.
Senior Janie Kenaston registered six kills and three aces, and senior Ania Farmer had six kills.