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Cascade Christian ends five-year skid against St. Mary's

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Levi Sciapiti is doing his best to keep the Cascade Christian boys soccer team headed in the right direction.

Literally.

For the second game in as many outings, Sciapiti scored two goals on headers and the Challengers enjoyed a landmark, 8-0 victory over rival St. Mary’s in a match that ended by the mercy rule Saturday at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

Games are called when a team assumes an eight-goal lead.

The headers were part of a first-half hat trick for Sciapiti and helped Cascade Christian halt a five-year, seven-match losing streak to the perennially powerful Crusaders.

The Challengers hadn’t won in the series since Sept. 21, 2016, registering a 2-0 triumph.

“It was an absolute thrill to watch these guys achieve a milestone,” said Cascade Christian coach Javier De La Mora, after his team moved to 2-0. “It was definitely a historic win. Not only did these guys come in knowing it was going to be a tough battle, they swept and made it an 8-0 game.”

Cascade Christian built a 4-0 halftime lead, largely on the exploits of the senior Sciapiti, who has seven goals on the season.

Jonny McCoy, also a senior, scored three second-half goals, including the eighth one that ended the match with nearly 10 minutes left in regulation.

Sciapiti said the Challengers “were really pumped,” and that he felt good going into the match.

“I thought it was gonna be pretty tough,” he said. “We were expecting it to be super close just because they’ve always been super good.”

Sciapiti scored the game’s first goal in the seventh minute when freshman Michael Melvin’s corner kick from the right side arrived in perfect position. Sciapiti went up for a header and butted it inside the right post and just past Crusader freshman goalie Nathan Lemley’s reaching hands.

After senior Ryan Crowl made it 2-0 from 14 yards out with an assist from freshman Nikhil Joseph, Sciapiti rifled a hard shot to the upper right of the goal with an assist from Melvin, making it 3-0 in the 32nd minute.

Sciapiti finished the first-half scoring in the 34th minute when senior Levi Marincus lofted a pass over two defenders to Sciapiti, allowing him to snap a header into the left side of the net.

“It was championship caliber just watching him get those headers,” said De La Mora. “It was pretty phenomenal.”

Sciapiti credited teammates McCoy and Melvin for superior ball handling and deft passing.

“I definitely like doing headers because our guys are super good at doing crosses,” said Sciapiti. “I can jump pretty high and get above people. I feel like headers are definitely my strong suit.”

McCoy shouldered the scoring load in the second half, taking a pass from Sciapiti in the 55th minute, making a nice crossover move to shake a defender and squib a grounder to the left of a diving Lemley.

In the 65th minute, McCoy sent what was intended to be a pass in front of the goal, but it ricocheted off a Crusader for an own goal.

He then facilitated a one-touch score by Marincus in the 69th minute by making a long run that set up a nifty dump-off for a 7-0 edge.

McCoy then finished the scoring with a charge up the left third and a powerful boot.

De La Mora was pleased with how well the Challengers communicated and played together.

“There were a lot of great set pieces,” he said.

Defensively, Crowl created havoc in the Crusaders’ midfield, said the coach, and junior Brandon Parker and senior Nathan Spurlock followed suit.

Goalkeeper Dylan Westlake, a freshman, made seven saves.

“It was a really good win for these guys,” said De La Mora. “We celebrate, take it in now, and then we get back to work.”

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or ttrower@rosebudmedia.com.

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Cascade’s Levi Marincus takes a shot for a goal off his head from a corner-kick during the 1st half.{ }Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
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